Walsham suffer London 1N relegation: Bury St Ed 57, North Walsham 20
16:40 23 April 2012
A disallowed second half try spelt heartbreak for North Walsham on Saturday as they were relegated from London 1N by the narrowest of margins.
The Vikings went into their final match of the campaign at Bury St Edmunds in superb form, having won five games on the trot to keep their battle against the drop alive.
Cheered on by a sizeable away following in a crowd of over 400, Walsham went on to give a good account of themselves against high-flying opposition, scoring three tries in a keenly-contested first half to turn around only eight points behind.
The game drifted away from the Vikings after that but they always knew a four-try bonus point might be enough to keep them up – and thought they had secured it when Tom Coller appeared to touch down under a mountain of bodies.
But the referee decided he hadn’t seen enough to be able to award a score and the visitors ultimately emerged from the game with no reward. News of Rochford’s defeat at Brentwood afterwards confirmed that one point would have been enough to keep them up on points difference.
Walsham started brightly on Saturday, with a James Forrester penalty cancelling out a Bury effort, and the remainder of the half was a real roller-coaster ride, with tries coming regularly at both ends.
Stuart Loose and Shane van Vuuren both crossed for Walsham, who also scored from a push-over, with Chris Kent appearing to get the touch down. With Forrester adding one conversion the visitors had reached 20 points before the halfway stage, but an impressive Bury side – who would have been challenging for promotion but for a points deduction – were also a threat and held a narrow 28-20 lead at the break.
In the second half the Suffolk side’s class told as they scored at regular intervals to pull away and Walsham quickly realised their only hope of salvation was to score again – and hope Rochford, who started the day one point ahead of them, emerged empty handed from their final fixture.
In the end the Vikings nearly saved themselves – but Coller’s near miss left them to reflect on the poor results earlier in the season that ultimately left them with too much to do.
Nick Greenhall’s side will now have to lift themselves for one final challenge – Sunday’s Norfolk Senior Cup final against Diss at Mackenders (3pm).
• In what was a ding-dong battle throughout Walsham’s second string went down 35-27 to their Bury St Edmunds counterparts. Walsham’s scores came via tries from Freddie Henley-Hunter (2), Jason Nicholas and Billy Graham-Park and two conversions and a penalty from Alex Lampert. Bury St Ed 57 North Walsham 20