Positive signs for Walsham
North Walsham 12, Thurrock 17: Current form indicated another heavy defeat was likely for North Walsham as they struggle to rebuild the side following the loss of a number of players to higher leagues over the summer.
Whilst another loss was recorded there was no doubt that this game clearly saw the start of something of a rebirth at Scottow. Playing with enormous commitment and purpose the Vikings were unlucky to not record their first home win. UEA students Hyde, Dighton and Perkins came into the backs and they added a much sharper option to the attack and solid tackling in defence.
The Vikings went in front when a lineout saw Coller take a clean ball off the top that allowed Ball to be put into a space that got beyond the game line and force Thurrock into conceding a penalty. Dewing calmly split the uprights for a 3-0 lead.
Failing to bind legally then gave Walsham another penalty and Dewing put over his second kick to extend the lead.
Stung into action Thurrock tried to break through in midfield but none of the Walsham backs were in the mood to concede ground. The hosts attacked again and Tebbatts picked up from the base and got the ball away to Ball who made great yards up the blind side. Walsham went through a number of phases, with both Van Vuuren and Hyde making good runs, and a last gasp tackle just prevented a Walsham try.
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A nice move then took the ball into the 22 and the forwards drove on, tempting a Thurrock forward to enter from the side and concede a penalty for Dewing to make it 9-0.
Thurrock hit straight back when fullback Darryl Worster scorched into the Walsham 22 up the right hand side. The forwards quickly recycled and the ball was whisked right and back into the hands of Worster for him to pop it down five yards in from touch which Stanley was unable to convert.
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The start of the second half saw Walsham pushing hard but Thurrock were now looking to move the ball quickly and a lovely pass from Ian Rudgely to Nat Farrell, who had come on at half-time, saw him outpace the cover to get in at the corner. Stanley converted to nudge Thurrock ahead at 12-9.
Then Farrell again finished excellently in the corner for his second try. This time Stanley was unable to add the extra points, leaving it at 17-9. In previous games this would have heralded the end of Walsham's resistance but not this time. With true Walsham spirit and the crowd totally engaged they drove back and reduce the arrears with another Dewing penalty to secure a bonus point.