Walsham made to work hard for bonus point win
- Credit: Archant
North Walsham 26, Chelmsford 8
North Walsham made hard work of Saturday's encounter with lowly Chelmsford, only securing the bonus point fourth try in the dying seconds, writes Graham Price.
On a raw afternoon, the talking point was of the number of collapsed scrums in the game, with 15 in the first half alone by one count.
Aki Downing, Tom Browes and Tim Weber were dynamic in loose play, with Andreas Robertson and Ethan Benney enterprising in the backs. Michael Braans' incursions into the line added pressure, but scoring chances were too often lost in the final phase.
After a disjointed first 20 minutes, a long pass from Tom Lomax put Will Hodgson over for the first try, the extras added by his brother Matt.
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When Tom Williams was penalised for crossing, Simon Hoult converted the penalty for Chelmsford, before Lomax broke and sent Jono Lawson to within four metres of the goal line.
The ball came back through the hands for Shane van Vuuren to take the score, converted from the touchline by Matt Hodgson.
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Ryan Oakes and Williams were harvesting useful possession, with Chalk Hill Brewery man-of-the-match Chris Godwin ever present, particularly around the fringes in defence.
With half-time beckoning and Lawson almost to the line again, Williams broke off the maul and van Vuuren popped the ball up for Oakes to touch down. Matt Hodgson's conversion sent Walsham in 21-3 ahead at the interval.
The third quarter impetus belonged to the visitors, with Daniel Idundud twice being held up short, although Hoult did miss a penalty from in front of the posts.
Chris Kent came off the bench to enjoy his first run-out for the Vikings since breaking a leg as Chelmsford continued to attack, with Jack Acorn breaking down the wing for Jamie Morrish to cross for an unconverted try.
Despite a man in the sin-bin, Chelmsford were again held up twice on the line as Walsham came back into the game.
Finally, Downing released substitute Dom Roberts on a jinking run, his break allowing Will Hodgson over for his second try, which went unconverted.
Coach Nick Greenhall felt good Chelmsford defence stopped his side playing, but he was pleased with the performance, particularly that of Godwin and Roberts.
Walsham stay in fifth place in London One North, one point behind Thurrock.