Vikings aim to extend good run

WITH victory against Havant and Dings Crusaders North Walsham Vikings will be looking to make it three on the trot with a first-ever win at Rosslyn Park.

WITH victory against Havant and Dings Crusaders North Walsham Vikings will be looking to make it three on the trot with a first-ever win at Rosslyn Park.

The Roehampton side have denied Walsham the points in all four of their previous visits, and on their last visit to Scottow won 27-10. While their win/loss record is only marginally better than Walsham's - seven wins from 20 games compared with the Vikings' six - they have a far superior points difference. In recent weeks, however, Walsham have tightened up their defence, a factor which has greatly aided their move from the bottom of the table.

Dave Smith, having had to make changes because of injury, will be hoping that the process will be reversed this week. Gideon Rossouw, Shaun Woodhouse and Adam Gowen will hopefully be available for at least bench duty. While skipper Andy Thorpe and centre Jamie Burroughs may need another week to regain full fitness, Rob Clymer should return at fullback.

The inclusion of South African teenager Gideon Strydom has given the side a new dimension and although he limped off with back bruising he will hopefully return this week.

North Walsham 27, Dings Crusaders 8

Last week coach Dave Smith was quick to praise the “one to 19” performance that secured the valuable win at Havant.

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On Saturday he and the supporters were rewarded with a similar showing from a side that played controlled rugby, defended in depth and took their chances.

Al Turner had the unenviable job of filling the shirt of Gideon Rossouw, and did so admirably. Will Farrer came in for Jamie Burroughs in the centre and his partnership with Waldo de Jager was key to the central defence while Matt Cross was called on to the wing.

Turner and Farrer have had limited chances this season while Cross was making his first league start for nearly four years, yet all slotted in seamlessly.

In contrast to early season games the Vikings are now much quicker into their stride and they have, probably due to a lift in confidence, stopped conceding unnecessary penalties in key areas. Against Dings just the one was on offer, right in front of the posts on the stroke of half-time.

The home side soon took control and the inevitable first score came from a well rehearsed move. Turner threw to Applin at the back of the line out, took the dropped ball, powered round the tail of the line and weaved through the defence all of 25 metres for his first try for the club, which Strydom converted.

Dings were moving the ball around but making little ground as it seemed that Walsham had two tacklers for every ball carrier. However they did get their first points on the board when Read neatly slotted a drop goal, before Strydom restored the lead with a penalty.

Playing with the breeze at their backs in the second half Walsham pumped a long kick close to the Dings line, the forwards won the ball against the throw, and Chris Godwin drove low and hard across the line. Strydom converted and then, after Cross had been hauled down a metre short of the stripe, virtually sealed the win with a penalty.

Dings were determined to pull something out of the game and a somewhat fragmented drive for the line ended with second row Dave Bufton making the touchdown. It was really their last hurrah and Walsham were hungry for more.

A penalty line-out was taken by Davies and the ball came to Dermody who put a fast, flat pass into the hands of Farrer who dragged two defenders over the line. Strydom's conversion made it his second 100 per cent kicking sequence.

Walsham fought in vain for the fourth bonus point try, but Dings defended well to keep them out.