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Vikings under pressure to win

PUBLISHED: 08:29 06 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:52 13 July 2010

North Walsham Vikings face another must win game as they enter the final weeks of the season. With some tough games to come they will be looking for success against fellow strugglers Clifton (3pm).

North Walsham Vikings face another must win game as they enter the final weeks of the season. With some tough games to come they will be looking for success against fellow strugglers Clifton (3pm).

When the sides met at Clifton earlier in the season the home side took the win by a six point margin but Walsham felt that they could and should have won it.

With only minor knocks to worry about Dave Smith is likely to make as few changes as possible. Although their total focus will be on the Scottow pitch the Walsham supporters will no doubt have an eye on the other key games, Barking against Dings and Bridgwater against Havant.

Rosslyn Park 14, North Walsham Vikings 0

With over 300 games of National League rugby behind him, Walsham skipper Stuart Loose still hates to lose, but his post-match view was that Rosslyn Park were the better team and deserved the win.

Walsham started at full throttle and camped in the Park half of the field for fully 20 minutes and threw everything at a stubborn and well-drilled defence.

Walsham were getting themselves into good positions but it was the final thrust that they failed to deliver as Strydom, de Jager and Farrer were all stopped within the final metre.

It took Park until the first few minutes of the second quarter to break out but they continued to play to their plan and it is difficult to remember a single set scrum when the ball was not taken into contact by No 8 Mike Count. He met stern resistance from Chris Godwin but possession was maintained and they made their way further and further into Walsham territory. Just when a rare scoreless first half looked likey the ball was swept right for Park centre John Swords to make the touchdown. Richard Mahony struck the conversion cleanly.

Walsham started the second period as they had the first but they were probably guilty of being a little static and of moving the ball sideways, and when de Jager and Farrer tried to punch up and create gaps they were instead hitting brick walls.

Newcomer McNulty replaced le Roux and looked solid in the set pieces and should prove a valuable addition to the squad. Park patiently worked their way back into the midfield and then spread the ball out to right wing Dave Riley, who made light of attempted tackles to score Park's second, Mahoney again adding the extras.

This turned out to be the killer blow to Walsham's hopes and they began to look ragged, lost their shape and increasingly unlikely to get across the line, although there was a glimmer of hope when Rob Clymer broke away but was hauled down a metre short. A vastly disappointing result for Walsham, but no complaints.

Diss 7, North Walsham 25

This was semi-final action but the quality and competitiveness would have done credit to the final.

Diss made Walsham fight for every point, but with all five tries coming from forwards it was the dominance of the Walsham pack that was the key.

From the previous week's game they somehow transformed themselves and some of the rucking and mauling was of the highest order. The first 10 minutes were scoreless, but when Greg Short took a strike against the head No 8 Hal Bedford-Payne crashed over.

Diss came back strongly and took the lead with a superb strike from outside half Harry Gooderham. He took the ball just outside the Walsham 22, a neat side step 'opened the gate' and he jinked through to score and then added the conversion.

Walsham reclaimed the lead when they were awarded a five metre scrum and Bedford-Payne went down the short side to score.

With the wind at their backs in the second half Walsham were kept going forward with some fine kicking out of hand from George Catchpole. Prop Thomas Rhodes was held up just over the line before Ben Place scored Walsham's third from a five-metre scrum.

Diss moved the ball expertly across the field and twice came close to scoring. Using the wind to their advantage Walsham began to wear down the home side. Andrew Miller was at the heart of a driving maul which was held up but in the final 15 minutes. Burton-Payne crossed twice more, all the tries unconverted. His four-try haul came from good solid teamwork to provide the platform.

The final is on Sunday, March 30 at Scottow against either Norwich or West Norfolk.

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