Holt handed walk-over - but opponents Newmarket still come up for a game

Ryan Oakes stretches for the line as North Walsham pile the pressure on Ruislip. Picture: Hywel Jone

Ryan Oakes stretches for the line as North Walsham pile the pressure on Ruislip. Picture: Hywel Jones - Credit: Archant

Holt were handed their second walk-over of the season on Saturday - but on this occasion a match did take place at Bridge Road.

Visitors Newmarket made contact towards the end of the week to say they were struggling to raise a side for the London Three Eastern Counties fixture.

As it turned out they were unable to solve their selection problems, with Holt being handed a 20-0 win together with the five points. But they still travelled up to Norfolk with 12 players, allowing a friendly fixture to take place.

That was at least an improvement on the Holt's other walk-over in October, when scheduled opponents Lowestoft & Yarmouth opted simply to concede because of a lack of available front row players and the home faithful were left high and dry, with no rugby to watch.

'It's obviously very disappointing when something like this happens but full credit for Newmarket for making the journey, even though they knew no league points would be at stake,' said coach Ed Steed. 'We managed to have a 12-a-side game and although we won comfortably it was still a useful exercise, especially from a fitness point of view. We have no game scheduled for next week so it kept us ticking over and also provided plenty of entertainment.

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'I don't think I have ever been involved in a 12-a-side game before except with youngsters but it certainly produced a lot of fast flowing, running rugby.

'The game was also played in good spirit which was appreciatively applauded by the home crowd at the final whistle.'

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Despite playing a game and taking maximum points, Steed admitted it was a still a disappointing afternoon for Holt.

'This is the second time we have been handed a walk-over this season and it's obviously something you don't want to see, especially at first team level. We would far rather earn our points by winning games. But sadly this sort of thing happens from time to time, especially when teams are struggling, and we just have to accept it and move on to the next one.'

Following a free weekend, Holt, who remain fourth in the table five points behind Ely, return to action with a trip to Woodbridge on January 27.

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