Vikings break new ground

THERE is a first-time visit to Dorking for North Walsham on Saturday as the Surrey club were promoted at the end of last season and have made a quick impact.

THERE is a first-time visit to Dorking for North Walsham on Saturday as the Surrey club were promoted at the end of last season and have made a quick impact.

With six wins from their eight games they currently lie fifth in the table, last week going down to their second defeat at the hands of Bracknell.

As they are newcomers to the league and there is no previous history between the clubs or knowledge of how they like to play the game, it should be an interesting encounter.

Despite the final result last week the Walsham coaches were encouraged by the way the side performed, particularly in maintaining their discipline when on the back foot.

After three weeks without a game due to injuries the Raiders should be able to travel to Dorking with the Vikings.

The Warriors, who had a good win over Holt last week, have a friendly scheduled against Lakenham Hewett.

Most Read

North Walsham 10, Basingstoke 17

As predicted, this game between two mid-table sides was well contested and most would agree that thanks to their territorial advantage in the second half the visitors did enough to ensure they left with four points while the hosts had to settle for a single losing bonus point.

Once again commitment was not an issue with the Scottow faithful as their side battled away for the full 80 minutes.

But the bulk of after-match comments were that possibly retaining possession would have proved more fruitful than giving it away with some not too well directed kicking.

Taken to task over the previous week's penalty count, the players had obviously listened to the coaches as the numbers were reduced by approximately two-thirds and Stoke's full-back Andrew Fitchett was given just two shots at goal all afternoon.

The usual crop of changes saw Soul Phoenix and Shane van Vuuren drop to the bench, Leon Davies and Chris Godwin return from injury and Andy Pybus, a recruit from Rugby League, making his debut on the wing.

The visitors were quick to show their intent to spread the ball around and came close to scoring in the first few minutes, a last-ditch tackle by Adie Ball snuffing out the threat.

Seven minutes in Walsham were handed a penalty but Loveridge pushed his kick wide.

The visitors took the lead when a grubber kick bounced between two defenders and skipper Simon Appleby nipped in to score, with Fitchett adding the extras.

Straight from the restart Holt made a break. His inside pass was gathered up by Godwin who burst through the defence before passing to Bruce van Poortvliet to score his fifth touchdown of the season, handing Loveridge a simple kick to level the scores. But it was not long before Fitchett restored the lead from in front of the posts.

Walsham were playing with a good degree of purpose and Burroughs looked strong in the heart of the attack and the support was quick. Fitchett had another opportunity to increase the lead but his kick struck a post and was quickly despatched upfield.

Just before the break Pybus made an interception five metres from his own line and outstripped his support, but not the defenders, before being brought down on the 22 metre line.

One change at half-time saw Shane van Vuuren on for Pybus but he was in turn replaced by John Turner because of a leg injury. Walsham started the half with purpose and but for a couple of misjudgements could have taken the lead but a Loveridge penalty to bring the scores level was their only reward.

Basingstoke stuck to their game plan and kept play largely in the Walsham half. The defence was at times awesome, with big hits from Godwin and Sokia knocking them back.

Just as it seemed that the game would end in a draw, Walsham lost possession, Basingstoke established an overlap on the left flanker Dan Rees, touched down and Fitchett converted.

Walsham upped their game in the remaining five minutes but could not breach the defence.