North Walsham Raiders back up to second after comprehensive win

Jim Riley touches down for North Walsham during a comfortable win at Saffron Walden. Turn inside fo

Jim Riley touches down for North Walsham during a comfortable win at Saffron Walden. Turn inside for reeport. Picture: Hywel Jones - Credit: Archant

Despite playing with a much changed squad North Walsham Raiders finished the year with a convincing win over Norwich Union and, thanks to Beccles beating Diss, moved back up to second in the table.

A try after just 35 seconds set the trend for the afternoon. Flanker Will Haynes took the kick off ball and swift hands sent the ball to full back Harry Dye who scored in the corner.

Despite being up against a heavier pack the Raiders maintained parity in the set scrums but in the lineouts the more experienced Tom Coller dominated.

In loose play the Raiders also had the upper hand and were well marshalled by coach Johnny Marsters who crossed the line after 15 minutes to double the score.

Union struck back with a forward drive from a tapped penalty before scrum half Lee Thomson spotted a gap and made good progress before Michael Batty popped a pass to Vilikesa Vurewa to touch down and Thomson slotted the first of five conversions.

Relaxation after the restart cost the Raiders dear as Union scored from a well worked lineout move. Back at the other end Marsters made a good carry, Thomson was held up short but the coach was on hand to score his second and bonus point try.

Just before the break prop Seb Roberts was held up and skipper George Rossi was on hand to make the score 31-10.

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Norwich Union upped their game after the break and put the defence to the test and found it just too good and well organised to break through and get back into the game.

And it was counter attacking rugby that saw the Raiders increase their lead. Coller stole a Union lineout, Thomson and Ted Morgan made big yards before Roberts dived over. All the replacements came on and were quickly on the defensive as Union again pressed but found no way through. Thomson's kicking out of hand took play back into the Union half and Rossi broke from the back of a scrum feeding Thomson who shipped the ball to Henry Hunt who went in under the posts and Thomson converted.

Coach Marsters was delighted with the way the whole side played and particularly the solid defence in the second half.

There is now a break in league action, with matches resuming on Saturday, January 6.