North Walsham suffer a narrow home defeat

north walsham

north walsham - Credit: Archant

North Walsham 25 Ruislip 29

Enterprising Ruislip beat an erratic North Walsham side by five tries to three, despite the Vikings coming back from 12-0 down to lead 20-12 going into the last quarter.

In the Scottow sunshine the first score came from a reverse pass to Ruislip centre Michael Reed, who put wing Josh Horne over for a try, converted by Stu Pearham.

Ben Campbell rotated with Mark McCall in the Walsham front row as Horne took an unconverted second try for the visitors, Reed and fellow centre Daniel Walton being once again involved.

The Vikings continued to be slow to the breakdown, but good lineout work from Tom Williams set up a maul from which Chris Godwin touched down. Matt Hodgson converted with a hanging kick from out wide.

Walsham centre Cory Malcolm then received a yellow card before Ruislip were just short on three occasions and had an intercepted pass judged offside.

Before the break, with the Vikings back to full strength, a Ryan Oakes lineout take led to a successful Hodgson penalty, bringing the half-time score to 10-12.

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A second Hodgson penalty on 45 minutes saw Walsham take the lead. Ollie Dyke, now on the right wing for an injured Shane van Vuuren, then skipped down his touchline for a virtuoso score, converted by Hodgson, to bring the tally to 20-12.

With the wind in the Vikings' favour and excellent cover tackling from Ethan Benney all seemed set fair. However, dangerous play sent Jono Lawson to the sinbin, before Ruislip captain Ian Lewis crossed to score an unconverted try.

Pearham then broke for a solo run which regained the lead, with his own conversion coming back off the upright.

Try-saving tackles from Jake Duffield and Neumi Rokodinono kept the visitors out until the 67th minute when Reed got over for his second, converted by Pearham.

Walsham kept going and Tom Browes set up Godwin for his second try, Hodgson pulling his kick to the right of the posts.

Coach Nick Greenhall was pleased with the way his team clawed their way back into the game but felt the visitors were the fitter squad, with Walsham suffering from diminished regular attendance at training.

Pena Sokia, making his 100th start for the Vikings, was given the Chalk Hill Brewery man of the match award.

The Vikings retained fifth place in London One North even though the score at Luton a fortnight ago is currently void pending an investigation into incidents that led to an early finish.

North Walsham Raiders came through a tough test in Sprowston to beat an impressive Norwich Union side 19-12 – after being 12-0 down at the interval.

Tries for Pitcher and man-of-the-match Jon Spicker, with the latter being converted by Davis, put the hosts in a strong position, but Walsham came storming back, with Siya Qamgwana scoring a couple of tries and veteran Stuart Loose also crossing. Two of the tries were converted, by Jack Power and Freddie Henley-Hunter.