Video: North Walsham 17, Ruislip 5
14:53 26 March 2012
North Walsham recorded a third straight league win to keep their hopes of avoiding relegation from London 1N very much alive.
However, the Vikings still have a tough task ahead of them, with rivals Rochford Hundred gaining a bonus point win to push them back into the drop zone.
Apart from the first quarter Walsham struggled to find any fluency and they lacked the authority to impose their game plan. However, at this stage of the season a win is a win and now they simply need to maintain their fine run to give themselves a chance of finishing outside the bottom three.
With Scottow bathed in sunshine and goodwill after a successful fund raising lunch for the Light Dragoons the rugby fare on offer proved to be ordinary. However, when you are scrapping for points at the wrong end of the table a win against a side comfortably in the middle of the league is more than palatable.
The Vikings started at a gallop and quickly established a fluency and structure that augured well for a decent performance. The front five had the squeeze on the Ruislip pack and Dewing and Forrester quickly found good field position with well placed kicks down the flanks.
Pressure in the Ruislip 22 yielded an early penalty from Dewing and after 10 minutes flanker Hegarty took a short ball off a set move and punched over halfway out. Dewing was successful with the conversion and the home side were 10 points up and looked to be cruising.
The Vikings continued to press and generally maintained territorial advantage for the rest of the first half. They ran the ball wide at every opportunity and should have added to their tally. The pack was dominating possession and the backs looked dangerous, with the centre partnership finding holes in the Ruislip defence. However, after 25 minutes Ruislip forced their way into the Vikings half and for the first time exerted pressure on the home side.
Their pressure yielded a penalty but it was pushed wide by Baxter. Walsham then responded from deep within their own half with a searching high kick and chase resulting in the Ruislip defender being stripped of the ball and Henry Dewing cantering over for a second try which he duly converted.
With 17 points on the board the home fans expected their side to push on but resilient Ruislip defence and a lack of passing accuracy from the Vikings prevented them from building a convincing platform. A lack of depth, coupled with trying to force the game, dogged the home side but at the halfway point they looked reasonably comfortable.
The second half saw a change in the visitors and they upped the pace, making significant inroads into the home half. Replacement Adam Dowsett energised the Ruislip back row and after missing a penalty the visitors pressurised the home defence from a line-out and Dowsett raced over half way out. Although the conversion was missed Ruislip continued to press and only a last-ditch tackle by Dewing on the lively Dowsett prevented the visitors from unnerving the home fans.
• North Walsham Raiders maintained their winning run with a hard fought 13-10 victory over Merit Table leaders Norwich. An unconverted try for wing Adam Dye broke the deadlock to give the home side a half-time lead. A penalty reduced Walsham’s lead but a second try for Dye with a break half the length of the field took the lead back to seven points. Norwich levelled with a converted try with five minutes to go but an Alex Lampert penalty restored the lead.