Vikings' spirit top-class
WHILE the results, until last week at least, have not been going North Walsham's way the spirit in the club both on and off the field has been superb.And although a gap is appearing between the top and bottom halves of the table, a couple more wins should narrow the gap.
WHILE the results, until last week at least, have not been going North Walsham's way the spirit in the club both on and off the field has been superb.
And although a gap is appearing between the top and bottom halves of the table, a couple more wins should narrow the gap. This week's game will, however, be a toughie as opponents Hertford have an unbeaten home record this season and in fact in four visits to date Walsham have yet to register a win there.
The Vikings are hoping to travel to Hertford for a Merit table game while the Warriors are at home facing Norwich Lions.
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N Walsham Vikings 10, Havant 6
After three narrow defeats the Vikings hit back with a deserved victory against third-placed Havant.
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The scoreline suggests a close game but the visitors could not have complained if the margin had been substantially higher.
Six points down after the first quarter, the Vikings fought back to take the lead close to half-time before completely dominating the second half.
Adie Ball returned at full-back, where he put in his usual solid performance, while Dan Bancroft made a promising debut on the wing.
Havant settled quickly and after two minutes James McCann narrowly missed a long-range penalty. Five minutes later he missed again, but in the 12th minute he put Havant ahead with a penalty, and within five minutes he doubled his team's tally.
Down to 14 men with Jamie Burroughs in the sin bin, the Vikings started to claw their way back.
Havant were struggling in the scrum where the Walsham back row of Gideon Rossouw, Chris Godwin and Pena Sokia were outstanding. Their first period of sustained pressure was repelled, but the tide was turning.
Back to full strength, the Vikings continued to play a patient game, retaining possession well and generally keeping the ball in the forwards.
After 34 minutes they got their reward when Sokia dived over in the corner. Justin Loveridge converted from the touchline to give the Vikings the narrowest of leads.
The second half was a remarkable 40 minutes of rugby. The previous week Havant overturned a 19-3 deficit against Bracknell to run out 30-19 winners, but they showed no sign of such form here.
The Vikings stepped up a gear and were completely dominant. They played at a pace and with a confidence that Havant just could not match. The half was played almost exclusively in the visitors' territory and it was astonishing tries did not come.
Loveridge missed an early penalty but the Vikings were straight back on the attack. They were awarded a penalty close to the line as Havant's scrum continued to creak. A quick tap was taken, but the ball was lost.
The Vikings remained in control, with Alex Soutar and Mark McCall prominent as the forwards rampaged on, but Havant's defence was outstanding, keeping them in the game.
With 15 minutes left Loveridge missed another penalty before the visitors missed one of their own.
Play returned to the visitors' half and in the sixth minute of extra time
a Loveridge penalty finally extended the Vikings' lead.