Walsham lose out late on
A lacklustre second-half display saw North Walsham Vikings throw away a seemingly impregnable position and sink to a disheartening defeat.Leading 18-0, with a quarter of the game left, they conceded three tries in 10 minutes to go behind.
A lacklustre second-half display saw North Walsham Vikings throw away a seemingly impregnable position and sink to a disheartening defeat.
Leading 18-0, with a quarter of the game left, they conceded three tries in 10 minutes to go behind. They then regained the lead only for Hertford to grasp victory in the dying seconds 22-21.
Team changes saw Jamie Burroughs come into the centre, Adie Ball move to full back and Rob Clymer to the wing. Peter Clifford made his debut at fly-half, Matt Scott came in at prop and Chris Kent replaced the injured Pena Sokia.
The Vikings took control from the start and were soon ahead through a Gideon Strydom penalty. On 18 minutes it became 10-0 with a wonderful individual try from the outstanding Chris Godwin. Hertford won a scrum on halfway and Ian Hardcastle broke off to be halted by a thundering tackle from Godwin.
The flanker then harried the scrum-half before hacking the ball on and gathering it to storm away and score. Strydom converted.
The Vikings were looking confident and playing well. All the work in training on the line-outs was paying off, the scrums were solid and the defence well organised.
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The home side continued to exert pressure and extended their lead on 24 minutes with a well worked try. Following a scrum in Hertford's 22, Clifford's long pass sent the ball to Tom Holt and Clymer scored.
The Vikings were dominant and unfortunate not to score again after a slick move involving Burroughs, Will Farrer and Holt.
At half-time the home support basked in the sunshine feeling the Vikings should have been further ahead than 15-0, but confident they would push on for a big victory.
Hertford looked dangerous after the break but the home side weathered the storm. Clifford, who impressed throughout with his kicking, tackling and distribution, kept forcing play downfield with long kicks.
The Vikings were in the ascendancy and it was no surprise when Strydom kicked a long penalty to make it 18-0, 15 minutes into the half.
Then the tide turned. Hertford poured forward and only some increasingly desperate tackles kept them out as the Vikings lost their defensive shape. With 20 minutes to go, and Mike Rout yellow carded, Hardcastle scored a push-over try.
A home defeat still seemed unlikely but Hertford had other ideas. For the next 10 minutes the Vikings were run ragged and two tries in two minutes saw them go behind. First a Vikings scrum 20 metres out was disrupted and Jon Child scored.
Then, straight from the kick-off, the ball went through nine passes and Craig Wilson scored. Bradley Stamp converted both to make it 19-18.
Rout returned but the Vikings were soon depleted again when Godwin received a yellow.
Five minutes later, with the referee playing time added on, a Clifford kick created havoc in the Hertford defence. Iain Young, just on as substitute, slotted the resulting 30-metre penalty. Sadly for the hosts within three minutes Hertford regained the lead with a Stamp penalty.
This left time for one more attack but Young's despairing drop goal attempt sailed wide, and the Vikings were left to reflect on why they were unable to sustain their form of the first 60 minutes throughout the entire match.
North Walsham Warriors got their season off to a winning start with a 56-17 victory at Holt II. David Treglown scored a hat-trick on his debut and Lowe notched a double, with the other tries coming from Matt Campbell, Phil O'Brien, Mike Charman and Dom Roberts.