Big lift for Vikings
North Walsham 12,Tring 11This vital win for North Walsham, which lifted them three places up the table, was a reward for doggedness and a refusal to accept defeat.
North Walsham 12,Tring 11
This vital win for North Walsham, which lifted them three places up the table, was a reward for doggedness and a refusal to accept defeat.
Tring have a right to feel hard done by, having been in front for over an hour until the 77th minute, but Walsham's players and supporters will look back to those games that have gone the other way, when points were lost by a single score.
Unsurprisingly. given the heavy conditions and the fact that both sides could be classified as strugglers, the quality of the rugby rarely reached a particularly high level - but it was a never anything less than a full-bloodied encounter.
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A defensive slip in the seventh minute gifted the lead to Tring. A Walsham player misjudged the flight of the ball and passes were swapped by the visitors before centre Andy Gregg made the touchdown. Liam Chennels pushed the conversion wide.
With Stuart Loose suspended, the Walsham coaches were forced to throw Aki Downing, barely a month past his 18th birthday, into the mix for his starting debut and although forced to leave the action after half an hour through injury he later returned when hooker Alan Turner was injured.
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Having weathered an early siege Walsham broke to midfield and for the remainder of the half that is where most of the action took place, highlighted by a couple of crunching tackles by Adie Ball and some tigerish work by Lee Sandberg around the base of the scrum.
Five points up at the break, Tring were further buoyed when Walsham conceded two penalties and Chennels extended the lead to 11 points.
Still playing with spirit, Walsham took the game into the opposition half and following some swift movement by the backs skipper Tom Holt squeezed in at the right hand corner, too far out for Peter Clifford to convert.
The introduction of Will Farrer after two months out throuugh injury then gave the attack a whole new dimension as time and again his straight, hard running drives over the gain line put his side into attacking positions.
Perhaps foolishly, perhaps confident of their own ability, Walsham passed up the chance of a certain three points by running a penalty but failed to score. Chris Godwin then made a spirited break for the line,
With the clock running down yet another fine run by Farrer sucked in the defence and the ball was shifted right to Ball who swapped passes before Holt crossed in the right hand corner, but tracking towards the posts, to give Clifford a nailbiting conversion attempt. Despite the pressure the strike was nothing short of perfect.