Young off target as sorry Vikings slump

Tony MarcantonioHavant 20, North Walsham 8: There have been bigger defeats this season, but this was probably Walsham's most disappointing performance of the campaign. The Vikings started positively and looked to be well in control.Tony Marcantonio

There have been bigger defeats this season, but this was probably Walsham's most disappointing performance of the campaign.

The Vikings started positively and looked to be well in control.

But for the wayward boot of Iain Young and a couple of poor passes they could well have had a dozen points on the board and been heading for a long overdue win.

An early let off when a penalty inside the first minute was missed by full-back James McCann spurred the Vikings to take control and a decent break by Lee Sandberg was carried downfield by Tom Holt and Sam Rhodes culminating with a very kickable penalty which Young pulled wide.


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Five minutes later from an even easier position he again failed to nail the kick and for the remainder of the half Havant took control.

Forced to defend, Walsham were offside in front of their own posts and McCann put the home side in front. A penalty kicked down the flank put Havant in sight of the line, the ball was cleanly taken at the back of the line-out and driven over, with Steve Cruddas claiming the score and McCann adding the conversion. Walsham were spending more time in defence than attack and their task became even harder when Van Vuuren was yellow carded. McCann had the chance to extend the lead but his penalty attempt hit a post and rebounded into play.

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Almost on the stroke of half-time Walsham failed to find touch with a penalty, Havant ran it back from well inside their own half and a good handling move ended with an unconverted try for centre Joe Price.

Things went from bad to worse at the start of the second period when Walsham lost possession in their own half and conceded a penalty. It was quickly taken and the ball was shipped right to wing Craig Parker, who made the touch down.

Twenty points adrift, Walsham suddenly came alive and started to do the simple things well. Tom Coller took the ball at a line-out, and simple handling saw the ball reach Adie Ball who burst through a gap to score an unconverted try.

Suddenly it was Walsham who took control and Havant's turn to defend and they did so to frustrating effect, restricting the Vikings to a single penalty, converted by Sandberg.

The final quarter saw precious few constructive moves, Havant content to belt the ball downfield for Walsham to run back. What had largely been a poor game of rugby deteriorated with the final 20 minutes punctuated by a series of minor off the ball spats and the game petered to a spluttering conclusion.

The Walsham players were suitably chastened at the end and had to listen to a litany of home truths from the coaches but knew that they had let themselves down badly.

They now have to bounce back this Saturday against Hertford, an altogether different proposition, knowing that they have to take collective responsibility and perform for the full 80 minutes if they are to take the points.

North Walsham: S Rhodes, T Holt (J Loveridge 69 mins), B van Poortvliet, A Ball, S van Vuuren, I Young, L Sandberg, S Loose, M McCall (D Roberts 69), A Soutar, T Coller, L Davies, R Nicholson (D Morrison 69), E Elvin, P Sokia.

Tries: Ball. Penalties: Sandberg

Yellow cards: van Vuuren and Sokia

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