Something for North Walsham to build on
NORTH WALSHAM 24, DORKING 36: Few would have predicted a North Walsham win on Saturday. With just one victory to the Vikings' name so far this season, as opposed to Dorking's unbeaten run in the league, the pundits may have predicted another heavy defeat.
It was Dorking's ability to shift the ball out wide at speed and consistently engineer overlaps, coupled with the pace of winger Mike Teralak, that saw the visitors two tries and one conversion up after just 17 minutes.
The first try came from a well-worked interception by Terelak and, had it not been for fierce tackling by Walsham's full-back, Jonny Wyatt, and prop Start Loose, a second interception could have extended Dorking's lead further.
With 23 minutes gone of almost relentless attacking by Dorking, a good clearance by fly-half Iain Young saw the ball sail into the Dorking half. After winning the subsequent line-out, the Walsham forwards took control and, in a well worked driving maul, took the ball over the line, hooker Mark McCall claiming the honours. The conversion from out wide was added by Barry Frost.
Dorking quickly took advantage of a quick tap and go and flanker James Elliott powered his way through for their third try, the conversion added by Simon Love.
Walsham gradually began to get to grips with their task but a knock on deep in their own 22, followed by a well executed scrum, saw the ball passed swiftly to Dorking full back Ryan Lucas, who completed a fourth try, again converted by Love.
With seven minutes of the half gone, Dorking had built a deserved 24-7 lead. Two minutes later, Walsham lost Jamie Burroughs, following an incident close to the half way line, which resulted in the captain being carried off after a five-minute delay. The promising Neil Peacock came in on the wing, Frost moving into Burroughs' centre position.
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Walsham started the second half strongly, with Dorking prop James Catton being consigned to the sin bin for raking, Walsham centre Jack Hoyles leaving the pitch with cuts to his head to be replaced by Josh Reeves. Then, following a line-out seven metres out, another fierce Walsham rolling maul took the ball over the line for a second try, McCall again claiming the honours.
The Walsham forwards were now showing some considerable strength and the hosts again added to their tally when a scrum on the five metre line was won and scrum half Lee Sandberg threw an outrageous dummy to touch down beneath the posts, Frost reducing the deficit to just five points.
Dorking, however, continued to add to their score. Winger Gary Johnstone touched down after a Walsham penalty kick failed to reach touch, giving the Dorking backs the chance again to show their penetration.
Walsham replied with a fierce counter-attack as tempers became ever more frayed. Approaching the Dorking try line, the maul collapsed and Stuart Loose departed with a red card. Regaining the initiative, Dorking added a further try in the hands of prop Greg Bateman, after a solid line-out performance let Walsham down on their 22.
But Walsham were by no means down and in the final 10 minutes, their forwards attacked the line time and again. In the process, Dorking gave away no fewer than three penalties before their prop Greg Bateman was yellow carded. The battery continued and finally Chris Kent powered over to earn his side a four try bonus point.
If the Walsham forwards can keep this standard of play up, this season will see a turnaround for the Vikings. As coach Nick Greenhall said: 'That was the most passionate, committed and determined effort I have ever seen from North Walsham. It was a fantastic effort against tough opposition. The turnaround in the second half was hugely impressive and something we can build on.'