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Rugby round-up: North Walsham grind out win against Sudbury to stay eight points clear at top

North Walsham Vikings' James Riley carries the fight to Sudbury. Picture: Hywel Jones

North Walsham Vikings' James Riley carries the fight to Sudbury. Picture: Hywel Jones

Chasing Rainbows

North Walsham Vikings remain eight points clear at the top of the table despite a lacklustre showing in their 13-7 win over Sudbury.

North Walsham Vikings' Matt Hodges hands off against Sudbury. Picture: Hywel JonesNorth Walsham Vikings' Matt Hodges hands off against Sudbury. Picture: Hywel Jones

London 1N

North Walsham Vikings remain eight points clear at the top of the table despite a lacklustre showing in their 13-7 win over Sudbury.

The form book suggested an easy home win but this was well wide of the mark with both sides going in level at 7-7 at the break. The Vikings only got their noses in front in the last 20 minutes with the closing stages spent with Sudbury camped in the home side's territory.

Walsham were ahead after five minutes when they were awarded a penalty try at a driving maul after a five-metre lineout. Territorially though the first quarter belonged to the visitors and they were level at half-time when Sam Maile intercepted on halfway and Josh Wadford converted.

North Walsham Vikings and Sudbury observed a minute's silence prior to their London 1N clash. Picture: Hywel JonesNorth Walsham Vikings and Sudbury observed a minute's silence prior to their London 1N clash. Picture: Hywel Jones

It was more of the same early in the second half but from 10 minutes in the Vikings' forwards began to get some momentum. Their dominance was such tries seemed inevitable, so much so they turned down two kickable penalties. None came: they were held up over the line, lost a five metre lineout, failed to find touch from a penalty.

With the game entering the final quarter and Sudbury's penalty count mounting, a Hodgson penalty gave Vikings the lead. Still they piled forward once making 30 metres through pick and drives only to lose the ball on the line. With two minutes left Hodgson kicked another penalty. Belatedly Sudbury found some attacking flair but the home defence was sound and the Vikings' forwards had the last word winning a scrum penalty to end the game.

Sudbury were deserving of their bonus point for being within seven points. "We just didn't turn up," said coach Johnny Marsters. "Our spirit saw us through. Credit to Sudbury, we couldn't break them down. We must draw a line under this performance and train hard before Harpenden next week."

London 2NE

Norwich's Dave Micklethwaite in the thick of the action against Ipswich. Picture: Andy MicklethwaiteNorwich's Dave Micklethwaite in the thick of the action against Ipswich. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite

Norwich secured a bonus point victory at Ipswich with a 24-19 success despite an unusually high error and penalty count.

The sides were evenly matched but it was Ipswich that struck first a couple of minutes into the game with a penalty in front of the posts from Elliot Siddle, who kicked superbly all afternoon.

Norwich produced the first score when a flowing backs move engineered some space for Adam Huggins, who stepped two defenders, broke the tackle of a third to go over with a fourth trying to pull him down. The kick was missed.

Norwich lost JJ Raven to injury on about 15 minutes so No 8 Laurence Austin moved to 12. As a dominant Norwich scrum started to splinter their opponents 10 metres out, Dave Micklethwaite, who had moved to 8 in place of Austin, broke down the blind side and just made it to the line. Theo Elliott converted.

Norwich's Jack Walsh takes on the Ipswich backline. Picture: Andy MicklethwaiteNorwich's Jack Walsh takes on the Ipswich backline. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite

Ipswich hit back soon afterwards with a trademark powerful run, diagonally through the Norwich defence, by Tim Mann and Siddle converted from wide out on the right.

Ipswich were awarded another penalty in front, close to half time, which gave them a slender lead 13-12 at the break.

Ipswich stretched their lead 10 minutes into the second half, with another faultless penalty kick by Siddle.

This was followed by a more controlled passage of play by the visitors with the ball carried well in one move, by Dave Micklethwaite and Jack Walsh in particular, that drew in the defenders and created space for Austin to go over wide on the left. Elliott landed a very good conversion taking the score to 16:19.

Norwich's Jake Wharton spins a pass out wide against Ipswich. Picture: Andy MicklethwaiteNorwich's Jake Wharton spins a pass out wide against Ipswich. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite

A familiar pattern followed with Norwich straying offside in the centre, this time, and Siddle levelled the scores.

Norwich had a piece of good fortune when, instead of clearing their lines, Ipswich decided to run the ball from just in front of their goal line and got turned over on the left touchline. Norwich powered forward through the phases and spun the ball out to the right, stretching the defence with Dave Micklethwaite firing a pass to his brother Rob on the right wing, who went over in the corner. The kick was missed.

Ipswich proceeded to pound the Norwich line but their defence held on for a pulsating win.

Diss ground out a hard-fought 31-15 win over South Woodham Ferrers to move them up to second in the table.

Norwich's Tom Lloyd in action against Ipswich. Picture: Andy MicklethwaiteNorwich's Tom Lloyd in action against Ipswich. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite

Chris Beaird converted an early penalty to give the home side a three-point lead. As the first quarter concluded Shaun Blythe found space outside the South Woodham twenty two. Stepping inside the defensive line and accelerating with sheer pace sent Blythe over the try line.

South Woodham then enjoyed a period of control but Diss responded well with a series of off-loads that sent Matt Richards over the line to score a trademark prop forwards try. Beaird stepping up to convert. A loss of concentration in the closing minutes of the half allowed South Woodham to construct a try scoring opportunity that gave them some hope for the second half.

Within three minutes of the start of the second half Declan Hall completed a period of Diss dominance to put the home side firmly on the front foot.

With a two-try lead Diss now went in search of a four-try bonus point. A lack of concentration from Diss and a determined resilience from South Woodham set up a second Ferrers try and a penalty to bring them within nine points.

Dave Micklethwaite scores for Norwich against Ipswich. Picture: Andy MicklethwaiteDave Micklethwaite scores for Norwich against Ipswich. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite

Neat attacking play from McKercher sent John Bergin crashing through towards the Ferrers line eventually setting up Chris Beaird to score the defining try of the game.

A last minute penalty was converted to give Wanstead a 20-19 victory over Wymondham in this closely fought contest.

After an early penalty Wymondham scored the opening try but this was soon cancelled out by Wanstead scoring at the other end and going into half time with a 10-5 lead. Despite being penalised at the scrum throughout the second half Wymondham took control of the game and scored two more tries to take a 19-10 lead but were unable to hold on. Mistakes and errors from both teams in the slippery conditions left the game in the balance and after a converted try, Wanstead took advantage of the final penalty to take the win 20-19. After a third loss in a row Wymondham slip into the bottom half of the table.

Southwold romped to a 92-7 win over Romford & Gidea Park whilst Holt lost 50-14 at Stowmarket.

London 3EC

Fakenham went down to a 67-3 defeat at Cantabrigian, who are two points behind West Norfolk after their 15-8 against Thetford. Crusaders are in seventh place after their 36-31 win at Ipswich YM.

Eastern Counties

A good first half by the Raiders was enough to take maximum points for North Walsham Vikings against a strong Wymondham side who had the better of the later stages in Eastern Counties 1N. The Raiders try scorers were Kit Hodges (2) Henry Hunt Mark McCall and Theo Hudson.

Norwich Union maintained their unbeaten run away at Norwich Medics to maintain their position at the top of EC1 North despite calling a number of players up from the second team to cover injuries and unavailability.

Union were initially drawn into a fast and open game by the Medics who used their speed to great effect taking the lead with a converted try in the second quarter after Union's first unconverted try by fly half Ali McKee.

Union regained the lead just before half time as fast hands in the back setup a scoring opportunity, scrum half Lloyd Davis breaking before popping the ball inside for McKee to score his second, Alex Sinclair adding the extras to take a 7-12 lead into half time.

In the second half Union's set piece dominance came to the fore, a powerful scrum on the Medics 22m led to a penalty, which Davis took quickly before offloading to centre Neil Dunleavey who scored in the corner, Sinclair again adding the extras to take the final score to 7-19.

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