Vikings rock bottom after day of misery
Rochford Hundred 46, Nth Walsham 17: North Walsham slumped to the bottom of the London One North table with their fourth defeat in five games.
The fact that it came against the side below them at the start of the day can only have increased the hurt in the dressing room.
Selection for Nick Greenhall had been made difficult with a number of first choice players either injured or unavailable – forcing him to make yet another return to action in the No 10 shirt. His difficulties were compounded when skipper Andy Tibbatts was notified half an hour before kick off that his wife had gone into labour – prompting a detour to the Maternity Ward.
The ensuing reshuffle saw Grant Furlong take Tibbatts' slot in the back row and Walsham were left with just two replacements.
For the first 40 minutes Walsham more than held their own and were within a couple of points of their hosts just after the interval.
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An early break by scrum half Shane van Vuuren, judged by many to be Walsham's man of the match, took play deep into Rochford territory as did a couple of well timed kicks from Greenhall. After 10 minutes a penalty line out was taken by Dom Roberts at the tail, the rest of the forwards piled in and Grant Furlong was forced over, Ethan Reed converting.
Straight from the restart no Walsham player committed to the ball and while players waited for the referee to stop play for a knock on and offside by Rochford, flanker Andy Baker nipped through to score and skipper Tom Ashton converted from the touchline to start a six-from-eight sequence of kicks.
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Having drawn level Rochford took the lead almost immediately when hooker Tom Corbet took advantage of a misunderstanding in the Walsham midfield, running half the length of the field to score.
With Greenhall prompting, the forwards took control and had a good spell without managing to cross the line, Furlong, Kent, Hamilton and Coller all figuring prominently. But on the half hour Rochford scored their third through Ashton.
Reed pulled three back with a penalty and just before the break Greenhall was sinbinned for a high tackle.
Walsham returned from the break in attacking mode and despite being a man down only sound defence kept them out.
A penalty ended the attacks but van Vuuren took a quick tap and drove through defenders to score, Reed again converting.
Once again Rochford were quick to nullify the score and, having won loose ball on the right, sent it swiftly to the other flank and a three on one overlap ended with wing Prior scoring. Greenhall was replaced by Elder Grobbelaar at the end of his 10 minutes on the sidelines and the side never regained control.
Tony Kingsmill also took no further part following a heavy collision and was replaced by student Will Graggs, who showed enormous tenacity.
Ashton added a penalty which sealed the win for Rochford before Prior went over for his second. Following a dust up van Vuuren and Rochford players Baker and Bracknell were carded. In the final five the home added two more tries.
nWisbech maintained their 100pc record in Eastern Counties One with a 73-3 demolition of Broadland-Great Yarmouth. West Norfolk beat Ely 28-17. Swaffham continued their impressive start in Eastern Counties Two with a 42-12 win over Mistley