Second half to forget for Vikings
BARNES 65, NORTH WALSHAM 5: North Walsham suffered a heavy defeat at league leaders Barnes on Saturday to stay rooted to the foot of National 3 London and South East.
This started out as a better Vikings performance, the forwards almost rumbling as of old and the backs moving and handling well.
However, unbeaten Barnes, on a good pitch and in clear windless weather, conjured up a devastating final 30 minutes to put the visitors firmly in their place.
At half-time Barnes were ahead 14-0 after two converted tries, the first by right wing Dominic Jones after three minutes, converted by Warren Gower.
The Vikings pack was rucking well and Barry Frost joined several promising threequarter line moves from full-back. However, the ball was spilt too often in the tackle.
Much of the first half was played between the Barnes 22 and 10 metre lines, and on 12 minutes, after a line out on the Barnes 22, Stuart Loose broke to within one metre of the line, but was adjudged to have knocked on.
A tap tackle on Barnes left wing Luke Sayer prevented a breakaway try on 18 minutes, but concerted pressure five metres from the Walsham line on the right followed, resulting in a series of penalties to the home side.
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At the third penalty Viking tight head John Lusted was sent to the sin bin for entering a ruck from the side, following an earlier warning.
The pressure on the line was relieved by Loose and Mark McCall, while the defence was holding out, probing runs from the Barnes backs.
Barnes wing Sayer did beat the cover at 23 minutes but was penalised for crossing. Shane van Vuren intercepted another run, but knocked the ball on.
Further pressure to the North Walsham line resulted in the ball being knocked on behind the line on two occasions, but eventually the defence cleared the ball to half way. Eventually on 35 minutes, David Butler broke through in the centre for a second try, converted by Gower.
Barnes were penalised at the end of the first half for pulling down a maul, and Walsham progressed to within five metres of the opposition line but defence was effective.
The second half opened with a Viking running line, ending with a kick ahead by wing Jake Harris. which unfortunately went over the dead ball line. Three minutes later a similar move resulted in the Walsham ball again being kicked dead.
On 50 minutes the floodgates opened, Butler running straight through the centre for his second try, converted by Gower. Jones scored again on 52 minutes, converted by Gower, before Sayer scored three consecutive tries in seven minutes, none being converted.
Nick Austin came on for Jamie Burroughs, Chris Hamilton for Gerard Hegarty and Alex Harrod for Mike Henry at 56 minutes as Walsham attempted to stem the tide.
Following a penalty for going over in a ruck, from 20 metres, Chris Kent capped a sound game by going over for a Viking try on 65 minutes. Frost was unable to convert.
Barnes No 8 Adrian Clements added a futher try on 70 minutes and three minutes later Jones scored another.
Douglas Tausili followed suit, with all the tries unconverted, and finally Butler crossed for his third, converted by Sayer.
Despite the defeat morale remains high in the Walsham camp and work is centring on defence out wide, together with increased strategies for half back play and kicking out of hand.
Meanwhile some players will be looking at their personal fitness levels.