North Walsham Vikings slip to bottom of table
Civil Service 44, North Walsham 5
RUGBY: North Walsham failed to build on the previous week's battling draw against Staines when they were well beaten in London to slip to the bottom of the table.
With three matches remaining to the halfway point of the season it is going to take a steely resolve and collective will from the Walsham players, coaches and supporters to get their season back on track.
Playing into the elements, in squally rain showers and on a greasy pitch, the Vikings were behind after just two minutes following a penalty by fly-half Haden, who was to be a thorn in their side all afternoon.
Both sides played the territorial kicking game during the first quarter but too often misdirected kicks allowed Civil Service to run the ball back at the Vikings defence and after 13 minutes, following a disjointed move, Haden crossed over for his first try of the afternoon.
He went on to score 24 points during the game, two tries, four conversions and two penalty goals. Given the greasy conditions the Vikings' decision to play an expansive game was to prove their undoing. Too often the ball was lost in the tackle or at the breakdown, allowing Civil Service to run the ball back at the visitors' defence.
Gaps began to appear and it was no surprise when lock Butler crashed over following a move between backs and forwards from halfway. The try was followed up by fast- running full-back Houston, who cut through the Vikings' back line just before half-time to score a converted try, making the score 25-0
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Walsham put on all their replacements for the second half.Kent (calf strain) was replaced by Henry, Lamacraft by John Pymm and Elliott by Wyatt. Couzens moved from centre to flanker and the backline was reshaped to allow Wyatt to play at full-back, with Abrahams moving to the wing.
The second half was only a minute old when Wyatt threw a long looping pass on his own 22 line, only to see fast running wing Yiend make the interception and score a converted try under the posts.
Following loose play by the Vikings in their own half, allowing Civil Service to run the ball back through gaping holes in their defence, two further tries were scored by Haden (44 minutes) and Yiend (54).
For the remainder of the half the Vikings forwards began to play their pick-up and driving game, denying their opponents ball, which is something they should have considered doing from the start of the match.
Henry, a hooker playing at No 8, was most impressive as the Vikings looked certain to make a late breakthrough.
Civil Service defended their line resolutely but eventually pressure told and, following a yellow card to Gillett for coming into a ruck from the side, Abrahams took a neat flick on from Wyatt to cross over for a try wide out on the right for the final score of the game.