London One North: Letchworth Garden City 24 North Walsham 22
10:05 13 January 2014
The scoreline indicates this was a game NorthWalsham game close to winning – and but for a poor first quarter they would have done so.
Trailing 19-8 at the break, the Vikings fought back to go three points ahead with 15 minutes left, only for a fourth Letchworth try soon after to deny them victory.
David Treglown’s injury necessitated changes amongst the backs. Rhys Davies-Horne moved to fly half, Will Quinn started at full back and James Knight centre, though the latter two played over half the game in their more accustomed positions of wing and full back. A restructured back row saw Mike Rouse at No 8 with Tom Williams and Aki Downing as flankers.
The Vikings made a dreadful start and Simon Hrbek drifted through a big gap to score after just three minutes. Five minutes later Henry Dewing kicked a penalty but Letchworth were soon back in their stride and defensive frailties were again evident when Richard Street scored on 15 minutes with Hrbek converting.
The Vikings steadied the ship and they were on top in the scrums where Chalk Hill Brewery man of the match Ben Campbell gave his opponent a torrid time. Four minutes before the break, the Vikings produced a stunning try from a move started in their 22. The ball went through 10 pairs of hands and was quickly recycled at three breakdowns before Will Hodgson powered over. The four point gap was short-lived, Letchworth extending their lead when a loose ball was hacked through and Jimmy Tyrell gathered to race over for a converted try.
With the sinking sun now behind them and the slight slope in their favour, the second half saw the Vikings play a tighter game, kicking for position and using the forwards more to carry. Six minutes into the half, after a well controlled driving maul close to the line, a perfect pass from Tom Williams put Hodgson through for a converted try.
The Vikings kept probing, retaining possession for long periods. Pressure causes mistakes and, with 15 minutes left, Letchworth over threw a five-metre lineout and the ever alert Rouse dived over; the heavy pitch meant it was difficult for kickers, but Dewing converted from out wide. The lead just lasted three minutes. Letchworth re-gathered the kick off and were awarded a penalty. Luke Munson took a quick tap and shot over from 20 metres.
The home side nearly scored again but the Vikings regrouped. Tom Coller stole a lineout and a long Davies- Horne kick gave them a final opportunity. Letchworth won their five-metre lineout, tried to maul their way out of danger but the Vikings gained possession 30 metres out. A succession of drives took them across the pitch to set up the drop goal but it went agonisingly wide. - North Walsham Raiders beat Holt Owls 43-22 in a competitive Merit Table game which was much tighter than the scoreline indicates. The Raiders finished with seven tries to Holt’s three. The Raiders’ scorers were Chad Seeley, Chris Borrett, Will Briscoe, Peter Miller, Wayne Williams, Dan Goodrich and Harry Dye. Man of the match Borrett added three conversions and Seeley one.