Holt 22 Wisbech 12: Leaders march on with bonus point success

Jim Riley sets out on a run during North Walsham's big win over neighbours Diss at Scottow on Saturd

Jim Riley sets out on a run during North Walsham's big win over neighbours Diss at Scottow on Saturday Picture: Hywel Jones - Credit: Archant

On a bitterly cold day at Bridge Road Holt secured another bonus point win to maintain their position at the top of the league.

Once again the hosts showed that their strengths lay in the speed of their outside backs and the tenacity of their defence.

A strong wind worked to Holt's favour in the first half and when Wisbech made their first incursion into home territory a pass along the back line was intercepted by full back Geoff Flather who paused and passed to centre Ben Reedman who was able to finish the move, with Tom Jackson converting.

Holt then exerted sustained pressure and captain Ashley Woods crashed over from short range. This was followed by a trademark try from scrum-half Bruce van Poortvliet, who has been in excellent form all season; his blindside break was followed by a 30 metre run and a try in the corner. It was not a day for the kickers but Holt were comfortably ahead 17-0 at half-time.

Wisbech's pack, with two 18-year-olds in the front row and their man of the match David Wadsley at wing forward, were able to gain territory through close inter-passing and driving mauls. It was no more than they deserved when scrum Harry Newman opened their scoring with a try immediately after the interval.

But midway though the second half Holt put the result beyond doubt through excellent interplay involving their two young wing-three quarters.

Left wing Tom Goose picked up a speculative Wisbech kick ahead in his own 22 and ran at the oncoming defence. After beating several players he handed on to Ashley Woods and he in turn passed immediately to right wing Henry Flower who was able to complete the 80 metre move with a try in the corner. With the bonus point secured it was the visitors had the last word with a try from Ramos Vinska, a player who has been capped at prop at international level by Lithuania. Newman converted and the final score of 22-12 was a fair result.

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Holt will be well pleased with a win that takes them into the new year five points clear at the top with their next two games against bottom two Ipswich WM and Thurston.

West Norfolk travelled to Ely for a Friday evening fixture and were unable to return to winning ways as they lost a tight game 19-5.

With a number of changes due to unavailability there were first team debuts for colt Morgan Smith and prop Kell Lewis.

From the start both teams played with high intensity, with some quick paced end to end rugby. Ely scored first with some quick hands to spot a gap out wide after a missed tackle.

West then came knocking on Ely's tryline but were denied after a fumble led to a knock-on.

West prop Paul Bridges was also denied after being held up over the line following a strong run from a lineout. Ely struck again using their speedy wingers before West winger Stephen Aspery managed to skip his way over the line after some quick thinking by fly-half Sam Moses.

An end to end second half saw Ely score their third try before a tense few minutes saw West denied their losing bonus point as the hosts kept them out. West's man of the match was Kell Lewis.