Vikings are pegged back by visitors
North Walsham 13, Bury St Edmunds 25: This was not the start to the season that the Vikings and their supporters would have wished for – but taking into account the personnel issues that coach Nick Greenhall had to contend with there are still a lot of positives to build on.
Bury were a workmanlike outfit who stuck to their game plan and, on the balance of territory and possession, were worth the win, though many would regard the points difference as disproportionate.
Late changes to the original selection meant that the back line was somewhat unbalanced although Chris Godwin, moved from open side flanker to inside centre, was as usual a real handful.
The early minutes were spent sparring as both sides found their feet and it was Walsham who broke the deadlock with a penalty from scrum half Henry Dewing. In the space of 10 minutes the referee showed yellow to one forward from each side but thereafter kept his cards in his pocket, allowing the game to flow.
With neither side really able to establish superiority the next score came out of the blue when new outside half Ethan Reed chipped the ball towards the left wing, Bury full back Frost was left flat-footed by a wicked bounce and full back Rhys Davies-Horne nipped in to touch down behind the posts, allowing Dewing a straight forward conversion. Bury struck straight back with a raid down the right flank, outnumbering the defence for centre Nick Flexman to touch down, the try going unconverted.
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Awarded a penalty close to the Bury line the Vikings then opted for a scrum but were adjudged to have gone early and the chance was gone. Right at the end of the half Dewing had two shots at goal, the first passing just wide and the second striking the outside of an upright.
Good pressure at the start of the new half came to nothing when Walsham conceded a penalty. The kick was the basis for the next Bury score, starting from the lineout and ending when second row Sanchez crossed in the corner and Krammer added the extras.
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Walsham lost Jamie Burroughs with an injury and with his departure a lot of the shape was lost and Bury quickly ran in their third try. Dewing pulled back three points but the side was further disrupted when the influential Chris Kent limped off. Just when it seemed that Walsham were back in the game Krammer landed a long distance penalty and with five minutes to go replacement prop Perez went over for the bonus point.
The enforced changes had an obvious effect but there were some real positives to build on. The pack looked strong and solid with Beck, Furlong and Tibbett working hard and well together. The half backs Dewing and Reed look to be forming a solid partnership and although the midfield defence was sound, once the back line is settled the outlook should improve.