Vikings give supporters something to smile about
North Walsham 16, Eton Manor 13: North Walsham did just enough to gain victory, and haul themselves off the bottom of the table, with an Adam Dye try and 11 points from the boot of Henry Dewing.
Walsham coach Nick Greenhall expressed relief following this first Scottow league win and was particularly pleased for the home supporters.
Kicking off under floodlights, there was a frantic start by both sides, resulting in some loose, but exciting play. Gerald Hegarty stole an early line out and Stephen Hyde was sharp in the centre, while the Eton Manor wing three quarters, Danny Jillions in particular, were proving a substantial threat.
The home side went ahead after seven minutes, Dewing converting a penalty from just outside the 22. He was successful from a similar distance in the second quarter, when Manor were penalised for dropping a maul. Reece Reid had earlier missed a kickable penalty for the visitors.
Dean Blyth had a busy debut as Vikings inside half, providing quick ball from the breakdown and carrying well.
Eight minutes before half-time, near his own posts, Dewing passed to Chris Borrett in the centre, the latter making a spectacular break, to feed Dye on the right wing, who sped to the try line. Dewing converted from out wide to make the score 13-0.
Just before the break, with tempers rising, Manor second row Macer Twydell received a yellow card.
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The visitors were quickly on the attack after the interval, despite being a man down, with Walsham again kicking away possession, and failing to find touch. Dye then hobbled off, replaced by Alex Graaf-Grote, before Tony Kingsmill was sent to the sin bin for killing the ball in a ruck.
Reed got Manor on the scoreboard shortly afterwards with a penalty, Dewing responding in kind for Walsham, easing the score to 16-3.
Andrew Tibbatts and Tom Coller were having a productive afternoon in the back row, while Dom Roberts had a storming game, before being replaced by Stuart Loose at tight head.
Reid saw a further Manor penalty rebound from the left upright before Alex Hunter scored to the right of the posts, his fellow centre Callum McKie being unable to convert.
With six minutes to go McKie missed a penalty before lock John Robinson touched down for Manor, despite making contact with the corner flag whilst airborne. McKie didn't add the conversion, leaving the final score at 16-13 to Walsham, and the visitors with a bonus point.
Nick Greenhall felt the Vikings did enough to win, and that his team did enough to gain confidence so that they could pull away from the opposition, and keep ahead throughout the whole game.