North Walsham sunk by long range penalty
- Credit: Archant
Chingford 15 North Walsham 13
North Walsham travelled to lowly Chingford seeking their seventh away win of the season but sank to a disappointing defeat in the Essex mud, writes Paul Morse.
After going 12-0 down early on, they clawed their way back to lead 13-12 at the break, only to go down to a relegation threatened Chingford side whose form has improved recently.
Conditions were atrocious, persistent rain falling onto an already saturated pitch, and well before the end it was hard to distinguish between the players. It was a day for dropped passes, scrums and plenty of kicking.
The Vikings' cause was hindered by the absence of a specialist scrum-half – Shane van Vuuren began there, with Cory Malcolm coming on just before half-time. Each worked tirelessly and showed some neat touches, but both were playing out of position as was Dom Roberts, who played half the game as a flanker after both second rows had to be substituted.
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The visitors made a dreadful start, poor lineout marking enabling James Baber to stride over for a try unchallenged. Then a defensive error led to a five metre scrum from which Ben Bolton-Smith forced his way over for a converted try.
The Vikings settled though and after 15 minutes Matt Hodgson cut the deficit with a penalty. By now most play was in Chingford's half and 10 minutes from the break another penalty made it 12-6. The pressure led to more points when Matt Hodgson put brother Will through a gap for a close range converted try and the lead.
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The Vikings' domination continued after the break but scoring opportunities did not come and with conditions worsening it was becoming hard to retain the ball through more than a handful of phases.
Suddenly, with the final quarter beckoning, the tide turned. The Walsham pack did well to survive three attacking scrums, only for Chingford to kick a 45 metre penalty from wide out.
For the next 10 minutes the Vikings struggled to get out of their half but they hit back and two minutes from time they had an opportunity with a lineout 20 metres out but the throw went adrift and Chingford cleared.
'Our accuracy was poor at crucial times and Chingford played with lots of passion, but ultimately we lost because we conceded two early tries,' said coach Spencer Williams.