North Walsham held by Fullerians in entertaining match
- Credit: Archant
North Walsham played out an entertaining draw against a well-organised Fullerians team who relished the soft ground.
It was cold, the pitch was heavy and there was a light drizzle soaking players and fans alike as the Vikings kicked off following a minute's silence for Irmi Howard, the widow of founder member George Howard, who passed away recently.
The Vikings took immediate control as a line-out was won and Lachlan Brown-Bates took the ball over for the first try.
The host were still in control on 15 minutes when they scored their second and final try. Chris Godwin caught a Fullerian line-out ball that missed the catchers, forward pressure built and Will Hodgson carried over with Duffield converting to make it 12-0.
The visitors' pack then started to take control of the set-pieces and on 38 minutes a Fullerians scrum moved dangerously close to the Walsham line and No.8 Barrett peeled off the back and went over to make it 12-5 at the break.
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Seven minutes into the second half Mike Braans knocked on and the Fullerians dominated the resulting scrum and their lock Boyd carried the ball deep into Vikings territory where scrum-half Hancock finished off the move. Fawsett converted to tie the scores at 12-12.
It was fascinating rugby, but it was all Fullerian pressure with the Vikings barely making the opposition half. Finally, on 30 minutes, Duffield's kick made it to the Fullerian half and his follow-up steal gained possession. Fullerian frustration then caused a mass brawl to begin 10 metres from their try line.
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The referee sorted out the mess without resorting to cards and Duffield sent a short kick between the posts for a slender 15-12 lead.
The action returned to the Vikings' try line, and once again terrific defence looked to have won them the match until a penalty was given for a high tackle in the 47th minute.
From dead centre, seven metres out, fly half Toon sliced his kick but just managed to squeeze the ball inside the right hand post.
A draw was a fair result, rewarding both Fullerians' strong pack and the superb Viking defence. The Chalk Hill Brewery man-of-the-match was second-row Todd Scotland, whose workrate energised the entire North Walsham pack.