Walsham give themselves too much to do after poor start


walsham - Credit: Archant

Thurrock 38 North Walsham 26

Thurrock got the better of North Walsham in an entertaining but error-strewn game, thanks largely to three tries in the first 16 minutes.

The playing surface was good and firm, and the weather was bright and calm – which doesn't describe the Walsham defence in that opening quarter of an hour.

Matt Hodgson's starting kick was too deep, Chris Kent was stripped in the first tackle and the first line-out wasn't straight. Thurrock were doing all the running, and only had to wait for nine minutes for the first try, Nunn skipping through and Blundell kicking the conversion.

Lock Mundicha then crossed the line with ease before Nunn crossed the line for his second. Blundell kicked both conversions comfortably as the score moved out to 21-0.

It was all Thurrock at that stage but after a break in play for an injury to Tom Lomax, Hodgson made an interception and centre Andreas Robertson carried well to allow his partner Cory Malcolm to break the line and score Walsham's first try, Hodgson converting.

The Vikings' defence was improving and they got their reward on 31 minutes when Thurrock were penalised for holding. A good Hodgson kick downfield was chased well and Robertson made it over for his try, Hodgson narrowly missing the conversion attempt.

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Deep into added time Walsham thought they had scored again after consistent pressure in the left hand corner, only for the referee to rule the ball was held up. A lapse in concentration allowed Thurrock to break out and they scored in the opposite corner through Barrand, Blundell making his fourth kick from four to make it 28-12 at the break.

Walsham began the second half so much better than the first and on 54 minutes Hodgson brilliantly held a kick, calling mark, which allowed the Vikings to attack from their own half. From the line-out Ryan Oakes was freed to nip between two defenders and over the line, with Hodgson converting.

Hopes of a full Vikings turnaround were dented when Chapman crossed for a fifth converted try before Chalk Hill Brewery man-of-the-match Benney ran half the pitch to score a well-earned try, converted by Hodgson, to make it 35-26. Walsham had their chances to further close the gap, with Ollie Dyke going close, but it was Thurrock who had the final say with a Blundell penalty.

Meanwhile there will be a derby match in the final of the Norfolk Second Team Cup, with North Walsham taking on Holt.

North Walsham Raiders ploughed through the mud to win 22-0 at Wymondham II.

The Raiders opened the scoring when full-back Will Quinn hacked the ball goalwards three or four times before picking up and aquaplaning over the line and Freddie Henley-Hunter converted. Wymondham defended well but each time the Raiders got into the 22 they looked dangerous.

A tapped penalty close to the line went straight to Pena Sokia who powered over and shortly before the interval Henley-Hunter did the same, both tries going unconverted.

Despite almost total territorial control in the second half the conditions and good defence restricted the Raiders to a single try scored by centre Dan Weber.

In the other semi-final Holt II cruised past West Norfolk II 85-5.