Walsham produce response called for
It needed a dogged performance from North Walsham to see off a well- drilled and spirited Chinnor side whose performance belied their lowly position.
Winning has never been everything for Jon Curry. He is not content to "win ugly". He sets the bar high and expects the level to be reached each and every week.
So far this season's five from six win rate is one to be envied by many less successful clubs, but the performances have not matched the results and poor sides have not been dispatched as they have in previous seasons.
A major factor has been the constant changes due to a high injury rate and the inclusion of new players to the system. So it was no surprise that with seven changes, four of them positional, the early stages of this game were a poor reflection of what the side is capable of.
Three minutes in and a Walsham forward was penalised from breaking early from a scrum and Tristan Roberts had the scoreboard ticking. Then a brief Walsham flurry ended with a poor pass that was kicked up field and a neatly taken drop goal by Roberts doubled the advantage.
Walsham's only attack of note in the first quarter ended with Sokia being bundled into touch at the corner flag. At the other end try-saving tackles by Sokia, Thorpe and Holt kept the line intact before another penalty was conceded and Roberts made it three from four. Poor restart ball handed the initiative to Cinderford and when Noble was hurried into a clearance kick it was charged down and Eric Maroni scored wide out to make it 14-0.
Then Walsham began to gel. The forwards, led by Rossouw, broke down the left and the ball came to Chris Borrett who headed for the line. He passed to Thorpe who, with Holt in support, dummied the defence, touched down and Noble converted. Now it was nearly all Walsham with Borrett, refreshed by a short break, looking lively. Cinderford hooker Nigel Matthews was yellow carded for obstructing a penalty and Walsham took the lineout, piled forward and it was Arnold who emerged to claim his second try for Walsham.
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A dash down the left flank by Thorpe ended with an injury which sidelined the full back, allowing Rob Clymer his second taste of league action. With the passes beginning to stick the moves began to flow but the final score of the half fell to Noble who completed a spirited turn round by converting a penalty for a single point interval lead.
From the kick-off Walsham won possession on the left, Groom broke the defensive line, Herrington pounded goalwards and Borrett, on his right shoulder, took the final pass and touched down under the posts as 30 seconds came up on the clock. Noble converted and Walsham were, it seemed, back to their old selves and in control.
Walsham camped in the home side's half and when Groom was held up short the ball was popped up to Noble who had little to do but flop over the line and then convert.
The visitors lost new boy Faleono Seve, whose contribution had been solid, to the sin bin and then scrum half Lee Sandberg picked up a leg injury.
As Seve returned, Ian Noble was sinbinned and Cinderford took the line out and despite some valiant defence flanker Isiah Young was driven over. Back at the other end Walsham were offered a penalty which Iain Young stroked over and in stoppage time winger Lee Douglas took advantage of a stretched Walsham defence to score in the right hand corner with Roberts converting.
Having gained the fifth, bonus point Walsham waited for the other results, and had difficulty believing that Southend had beaten leaders Lyndey 81-16, doing the Vikings a big favour as, despite the lost points, they are still in fourth place just five points behind Westcombe Park.