Walsham win far from convincing

North Walsham got the five points they were seeking but, while they played well in patches and fully deserved the win, this was not a convincing team performance.

North Walsham Vikings 32, Bridgwater & Albion 18

North Walsham got the five points they were seeking but, while they played well in patches and fully deserved the win, this was not a convincing team performance.

After moving 22-11 ahead five minutes into the second half they completely dominated territorially but made hard work of turning that domination into points against a dogged Bridgwater side.

Jon Curry made three changes to the side defeated at Southend. Gideon Rossouw returned and there were debutants on both wings in Rob Clymer and Iain Young.


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Most early play was in the Vikings' half and Bridgwater took a 14th minute lead though a Christian Wulff penalty. This heralded a hectic 20 minutes when 26 points were scored.

Within three minutes the Vikings were level. A dangerous tackle curtailed a well constructed attack and Ian Noble kicked the penalty.

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The re-start kick was safely gathered but a pass was knocked on. The hosts were penalised at the ensuing scrum, Wulff kicked into the corner and Matt Britton scored the try after the forward drive which followed the lineout.

A minute later the scores were level again. Sam Herrington, who had an impressive game, took a quick tap penalty and his powerful 30 metre run took play close to the line. The ball was quickly re-cycled and slick passing enabled Tim Groom to pile over for the try with three defenders clinging on.

The Vikings spent the next 10 minutes on the attack but some poor passing let them down. Bridgwater capitalised on one of these passes to take play deep into home territory where a defender strayed offside and Wulff kicked the penalty.

On 32 minutes Jacques Potgieter was injured and replaced by a third debutant, Mike Howard. The former Diss player put in a good all-round performance and showed he should be an asset to the Vikings.

Six minutes before half-time the Vikings went ahead with a lovely try. They won their own line-out on halfway, Noble made a break, drew the full back and passed to Will Hughes who raced 20 metres to score. Noble converted.

Five minutes into the second half the Norfolk side extended their lead. Again Noble was the creator. Receiving the ball from a scrum on Bridgwater's 22, his well-timed pass found Pena Sokia on a perfectly angled run and the centre outpaced the defence to score, with Noble adding the conversion. This try was just reward for Sokia who was prominent throughout.

The home supporters assumed this was the prelude to a big win, but it was not to be. For the next half hour play was mainly in Bridgwater's territory but Walsham just could not press home the advantage. The visitors were well organised defensively but overall the Vikings' play lacked continuity. Their performance in the line-outs was way below par and they conceded too many penalties.

As the game entered its final quarter Noble kicked another penalty but the search was still on for the fourth try to secure the bonus point.

With the end of normal time approaching, a defensive error gifted the Vikings a try. Hughes followed up his own clever kick and harried the defender whose attempt at a relieving kick landed in the arms of Deaglan Hall on the 22.He went over unopposed and Noble converted. Then, deep into time added on, Ben Purcell took full advantage of some poor defending to score for Bridgwater, Wulff converting.

A win is a win and one of the hallmarks of a good side is the ability to achieve victories when not playing to their full potential. Nevertheless the Vikings will need to improve their concentration and reduce the number of basic errors if they are to overcome the challenges that lie ahead.

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