Day to forget as North Walsham RFC lose to bottom side


rugby - Credit: Archant

Woodford 13 North Walsham 10

This was one of those games best forgotten by those connected with North Walsham.

With Woodford rooted winless to the bottom of the table, it looked a good opportunity for the Vikings to register their first away win for 11 months. But a much changed side failed to get going until the final quarter.

Non-availability, including a long injury list, meant only seven of last week's match squad featured, absentees including the entire starting pack from the previous game. In the backs Henry Dewing came in at fly-half and Rhys Davies-Horne played at full-back. As Coach Nick Greenhall commented afterwards it is very hard to achieve good results with the team changing so much each week.

In the first half Woodford dominated territory to be 13-0 up at the break. In the second, the Vikings always looked the more likely to score but let themselves down with basic errors. Throughout indiscipline in the form of three yellow cards, conceding penalties in key positions and back chatting the referee cost them dear. Woodford scored eleven of their points with the Vikings down to 14, while their second half ascendancy stalled when they were again a man down. The one consistent bright spot was the scrums which they controlled, but they hardly won any lineout ball.

The Vikings started brightly but three promising attacks ended in penalties to Woodford. This brightness soon faded with most of the play in the visitors' half and Woodford took a deserved lead after quarter of an hour through a Pete Hyatt penalty.

Five minutes later Alfie Curness was driven over from a lineout for a converted try. Woodford continued to have the better of exchanges. With the ball in hand the Vikings did show glimpses of their attacking potential but they never applied any consistent pressure and close to the end of a dour half Hyatt added another penalty.

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The Vikings kicked a fair amount in the first half but they changed their gameplan in the second, consistently running the ball. They were rewarded after seven minutes as Jacques Olivier broke on halfway, made ground and passed to Wayne Williams who ran 30 metres to score. For the next five minutes all the momentum was with the Vikings but they were unable to capitalise and became frustrated.

The middle third of the half was fairly even but, restored to their full complement with 15 minutes left, the Vikings again took control with virtually all the play in the home 22.

Few clear scoring opportunities were created though. Substitute Peter Clausen, who made a couple of impressive runs, knocked on as he was tackled on the line – another player disputed the decision so a five metre scrum – and by now the Vikings were winning scrums at will – became a Woodford penalty 10 metres up field.

With the game about to enter extra-time pressure told. Woodford were penalised at a five metre scrum, Olivier took the quick tap and shot over. There was eight minutes of extra-time and the Vikings poured forward but stout defence, plus some poor handling and decision making, enabled the home side to hold out. Towards the end the Vikings' scrum supremacy was negated by uncontested scrums, but this was a game they should have won before then.