Vikings' hopes high

Saturday's visitors to Scottow, Dorking, are making their first visit. The Surrey side, promoted at the end of last season, are well placed in mid-table - a couple of places above North Walsham - having won just over half of their games.

Saturday's visitors to Scottow, Dorking, are making their first visit. The Surrey side, promoted at the end of last season, are well placed in mid-table - a couple of places above North Walsham - having won just over half of their games.

When Walsham made their first visit to Dorking in October it was one of the tightest games of the season, the result a 10-5 defeat for the Vikings..

Last week's game showed that Walsham can still play decent competitive rugby even with a depleted squad and with injuries healing a stronger side should take the field at 3pm.


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Basingstoke 21, North Walsham Vikings 5

THERE can be no argument about the result of this pulsating game but the 16-point gap belies the equality of the play. Basingstoke probably shaded both possession and territorial advantage

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but the Vikings matched them in all other areas.

Again injuries had a massive effect on the original selection, there being six changes, one positional and two on the bench.

The changes appeared not to have affected the Vikings as they started in brisk fashion and only a knock-on prevented an early score after forwards and backs latched onto a Loveridge chip through.

Basingstoke, well marshalled by their skipper Simon Appleby, boasted a well-drilled line-out and one close to the Walsham line was turned into a quick ruck and No 8 Liam Wilkinson drove over to score.

Justin Loveridge had a shot at goal from distance, pulling his kick just wide. Still playing to their strength 'Stoke' passed up a couple of penalty attempts opting instead to use the line-out and eventually it paid off with the ball moved into midfield and Appleby crossed the line. Right on the stroke of half-time scrum- half Mike Goodall slotted a penalty for a 13-point lead at the break.

Walsham made one change at half-time bringing on Jerry Namadila in place of young Matt Jarry-Ryan. Although chances were few the Fijian showed great pace when he burst through a gap in support of the ball carrier, but the final pass was just too far in front of him If it had stuck it could have turned the game.

The referee yellow-carded Woodhouse although he picked the wrong man as the prop had clearly committed no offence, but his absence did not unsettle Walsham as they took their game to a new level, and Jamie Burroughs, Alex Graf-Grote and Phoenix were all stopped just short.

Eventually the pressure told as the forwards rumbled over the line with Mark McCall claiming his third try of the season.

Shortly after Woodhouse returned McCall was 'carded' although numbers were soon equalised when Basingstoke lost their skipper.

Despite massive efforts Walsham could not get the score they deserved. Burroughs hit the line time and again but the home defence was solid. With 10 minutes remaining Bruce van Poortvliet who along with Burroughs had worked tirelessly in the midfield was sin binned for failing to roll away after a tackle and Goodall added three points. The final score was the harshest of all.

A good break by a loose forward was halted by the Walsham defence but the ball was kicked through. The referee, unsighted, failed to spot Namadila touching it down but did see lock George Scott get a hand on it when it squirted away and awarded the try.

Supporters who felt the least they deserved was a losing bonus point.

Team: 15 A Ball, 14 Tom Holt, 13 B van Poortvliet, 12 J Burroughs, 11 M Jarry-Ryan (HT J Namadila), 10 J Loveridge, 9 A Graf-Grote, 1 S Loose, 2 M McCall, 3 S Woodhouse, 4 T Coller, 5 S Phoenix, 6 R Nicholson, 7 M Oakes, 8 G Rossouw. Replacements not used: D Horslen and D Roberts. Scorers: M McCall one try.

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