Woodforde’s Norfolk Cup: North Walsham 31, Beccles 10

North Walsham booked their place in the final of the Woodforde's Norfolk Cup after coach Nick Greenhall, mindful of a potential banana skin, selected his strongest possible line-up.

He filled the gaps with a mix of youth and experience, giving debuts to 17-year olds Seth Rodger and Laurence Austin.

The adverse weather conditions were not conducive to open rugby, but the Vikings were determined to play their normal game.

Beccles stuck to their game plan, defended well in the midfield and tried hard to keep the ball moving, No 8 David Rix and half backs Larrauri and Cooper working well off the back of the scrum.

Walsham took time to settle and had issues with their front row but they were soon addressed.

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Beccles had the first chance of points with a penalty shot from long distance that fell short.

Walsham responded with Ollie Hodgson held up just short of the line but, from the ensuing scrum, Andy Tibbatts went over and James Forrester converted from the touchline.

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As in recent weeks the line-out was working well and from five metres out Tom Coller took a clean catch, the drive was completed when Mark McCall emerged from under the pile of players.

The lead was extended when the forwards again won possession, Chris Borrett came on a run from deep, Ben Campbell took into the 22 and Forrester skipped round the defence to dot down under the bar and then add the extras.

Five minutes from the break Luke Wade slotted a penalty to boost Beccles' morale and with two remaining Walsham lost skipper Tibbatts to the sinbin.

Greenhall made a couple of changes at the break, bringing on Henry Dewing at scrum-half and Dom Roberts in the front row.

With the Vikings attacking from the restart the ball went behind the Beccles line, an attempted kick failed to clear it and when it came down Forrester was first to apply downward pressure and again added the extras.

The try of the game followed when Cooper hoisted a kick to the corner to give his winger a run but a Walsham player gathered the ball and set off down the right flank with players in support, three or four passes later Dewing took possession and cantered in behind the posts and then converted.

Austin came on for his debut in the centre and impressed with his composure and tackling.

The remaining members of the bench followed and Rodger departed with a knee injury having shown he can compete at senior level.

However, the changes affected the flow of the game and allowed Beccles to pressure the Walsham line, putting Davey Durak in for a well deserved converted try.

In the final North Walsham will face Diss, who received a bye after the withdrawal of Wymondham.

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