Team performance gives Vikings hope

NORTH WALSHAM 15, STAINES 15: North Walsham stemmed their run of defeats with this hard fought draw against a side who began the day eight places higher in the table.

The Vikings went into the break 15-5 down and another loss looked to be on the cards. But a blistering start to the second half saw them draw level with half an hour to go.

Staines mounted wave upon wave of attacks early on. Walsham's tacking was solid but they were living off scraps of possession and it was no surprise when Andy Regan scythed through for a try, which Richard Mahony converted. The pattern continued and on 20 minutes a Mahony penalty made it 10-0.

The Vikings had the opportunity to cut the deficit when Staines were penalised from the re-start, but the 30 metre kick went wide. This heralded Walsham's first period of pressure and they got their reward with a nice try in the 26th minute minute. Grant Furlong won clean ball at the back of a line-out, and, after quick recycled ball, Barry Frost took a long pass from Iain Young at pace before passing to Nick Peacock, who scored.

Play became more even but Staines still looked the likelier to score, passing the ball quickly and recycling rapidly. Sure enough, on the stroke of half-time, Tom Cleary drove over from a five metre scrum to give the visitors a 10-point advantage, a fair reflection of the half.

Whatever was said at half-time clearly worked as the Vikings then tore into Staines. Adie Ball burst through, debutant Ewan Wilson was on hand for the pass but he lacked support. Five minutes into the half, following a 40-metre move, James Elliott was driven over by a perfectly executed maul after a line-out.

Five minutes later and the scores were level. Alex Graf-Grote went on a mazy 30-metre run and was rewarded with a scrum 20 metres out.

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The ball was moved quickly and Frost put in a superb grubber kick which Peacock did well to get to for his second try.

The Vikings' domination continued. Staines defended another driving maul close to their line at the cost of a yellow card. Walsham took the scrum option at the resultant penalty, but they lost control of the ball at the vital time. Still they pressed, but a penalty kick went wide and Staines clung on.

The visitors did camp near the Vikings' line for five minutes but stout defence kept them out. Mahony pushed a comparatively easy penalty wide as Scottow held its collective breath.

This was a real team performance in which every player played an important part, and it augers well for the future.