North Walsham RFC throw it away in the closing stages
- Credit: Archant
Old Priorians 27 North Walsham 19
The Vikings slipped to a desperately disappointing defeat in London on Saturday.
Playing into a strong wind and sinking sun they did well to be 7-6 ahead at the break.
A converted try apiece early in the second half kept the gap to a point until, with quarter of an hour left and the visitors very much in the ascendancy, a try gave them a 19-13 lead.
They then missed opportunities to kill off the game before contriving to concede two late converted tries as Old Priorians won the first ever meeting between the two sides.
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Two penalties from Ross McIntosh gave Old Priorians a 6-0 lead after 12 minutes. The first quarter was rather stop start as visiting Argentinean referee Federico Japas set out his expectations at the scrums, but gradually the game flowed, with both sides putting together some promising attacks. The Vikings ran the ball at every opportunity but made mistakes in good positions. The home side looked the more likely to score and twice Jacques Olivier made important tackles.
The Vikings' bad run with injuries continued, Dean Blyth being forced off after 20 minutes with a hand injury. Chris Borrett came on at fly-half with Henry Dewing moving to scrum-half.
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The last 15 minutes of the half belonged to the Vikings. Upping the pace, they retained possession for long periods, without initially having the incisiveness to score. Prop Neumi Rokodinono, who three times interchanged from the bench with Seb Roberts, made a big impact with some strong runs and deft passing out of the tackle and on the stroke of half-time the visitors' patience and pressure was finally rewarded.
It was Olivier who dived over after a move that started with a well angled run from James Knight and went through seven phases. Dewing converted to give North Walsham a deserved lead at half-time.
Five minutes after the break they extended their lead with a converted try. Powerful runs from Borrett, Knight and Chalk Hill Brewery man-of-the-match Mike Rouse took play close to the line and after four breakdowns Dewing was over.
The Vikings then let Old Priorians back into the game. They were pinned into their half as first up tackles were missed and the line kicking deteriorated, and it was no surprise when six minutes later Jack Dever went over for a converted try.
The Vikings re-grouped and for most of the next 20 minutes looked the better side and after a series of attacks a home defender was pressured into a poor kick. Shane van Vuuren gathered it near halfway, Knight made ground and Borrett raced 25 metres to score.
With a decent lead the Vikings then sadly self destructed. It seemed only a matter of time before they would score again but three times in five minutes they missed scoring opportunities, spurning overlaps and knocking on when the line beckoned.
Emboldened by these escapes, Old Priorians threw caution to the wind. Suddenly the visitors completely lost their shape and discipline and converted tries from David Wilkie and Conor Clancy saw them concede 14 points in the last five minutes to hand their hosts victory.
Unsurprisingly Coach Nick Greenhall was very unhappy afterwards, citing a 'lack of maturity' in that fatal final 15 minutes when the Vikings went from looking like taking five points from the game to coming home with none.
'How did we lose that' will be the abiding memory of this first trip to play the Old Priorians at Perivale.