Old Priorians 10 North Walsham 21 – Impressive team display keeps Vikings flying high
- Credit: Archant
North Walsham put in an excellent team performance in north London to come away with a victory by two tries to one.
The Vikings stay fourth in London One North, with the top five teams all having won 10 of the 13 games in the first half of the season.
The Walsham squad showed seven changes from the previous week and were short on the replacements bench, yet played selflessly with a strong work ethic.
On a sodden pitch, with a stiff crosswind, Matt Hodgson made an early break but Jon Younie couldn't hold the pass. Tom Williams then pinched the ball from the opposition put-in and Greg Kirkham fed Younie who was bundled into touch five metres out.
Hodgson got on the scoreboard with a penalty from the 10-metre line as Walsham continued to play with urgency, with further breaks from Hodgson, Ethan Benney and Guy Salzedo, and Mike Braans knocking the ball forward one metre from the line.
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The Vikings had control in the scrum, with Dom Roberts and Jono Lawson going well in the loose.
Hodgson struck another penalty before, rather against the run of play, Priorians' left wing Govalin Aristide streaked over for a try, converted by James Booth.
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Hodgson missed one shot at goal before putting the Vikings 9-7 ahead at half-time with his fourth place kick.
Walsham went off the boil in the third quarter despite shuffling the pack after the break with George Rossi on in the back row. A Priorians' kick over the line luckily went dead before Matt Oakes went to the sin bin and Booth put the home side 10-9 ahead with the penalty.
Wayne Williams, who had spent the afternoon rolling the opposition off their feet in the centre, had to go off with a hamstring injury as the visitors regained their composure, with Chalk Hill Brewery man-of-the-match Salzedo going over under the posts, for Hodgson to convert.
Neumi Rokodinono spun out of a series of tackles as Ryan Oakes continued a storming game in a left eye-patch, with a back of the line-out take almost to the line. Younie then scooted down the right touchline to score in the corner, Hodgson pulling his kick to the right.
Coach Nick Greenhall was pleased with the way his squad had brought energy to the field and had played bravely for each other.
Meanwhile North Walsham Raiders had to dig deep to beat a determined Norwich Union side 20-10 to extend their run of wins.
The first half was extremely tight with a 15th-minute penalty for the visitors negated by a long distance attempt by Jimmy Hill. Prop Seb Roberts went 40 metres to touch down and Hill converted. Union pressured hard and it took great defence to keep them out until the stroke of half-time when they levelled the score with a converted try.
The second half was played mostly in the visitors' half but there was less than 15 minutes left when man-of-the-match Harry Agnew ran in try number two and further pressure was rewarded when Pena Sokia drove over from the base of a five-metre scrum.