North Walsham 27 Eton Manor 13
18:59 19 January 2014
In front of another large, vociferous crowd the Vikings maintained their unbeaten home record with this memorable victory over promotion contenders Eton Manor.
The visitors came to Scottow seeking their 10th consecutive victory but left well beaten after a game that was an excellent advert for rugby at this level. Having been 17-6 up at half- time, Walsham withstood some sustained pressure in the third quarter without conceding before taking the game away from their opponents.
The Vikings looked confident from the start and almost went ahead after two minutes when David Treglown made a break and was tackled a metre short. Manor were penned in their 22 for the first 15 minutes but they survived a series of attacks and a long penalty attempt by Henry Dewing failed. After 20 minutes the Vikings were rewarded: they stole a Manor 20-metre lineout, quickly recycled and James Knight brushed aside his tacklers to score with Treglown converting.
The Vikings’ dominance continued for the rest of the half. On one of the rare occasions Manor threatened Cutu Serruys got back to gather a difficult ball and put in a superb relieving kick. The visitors looked strong at the scrum but whenever they tried to move the ball they were knocked back by some well organised defence. In contrast the Vikings were regularly going forward, getting quick ball at the breakdowns and varying their play.
Three penalties in six minutes, two from Manor’s Callum McKie, one from Dewing, made it 10-6 on the half hour. This scoreline did not reflect the play. Manor had rarely been out of their half but like all good sides had taken their opportunities.
Five minutes before the break, after more concerted pressure, the Vikings extended their lead through an outstanding solo try by Treglown who, upon receiving the ball from a retreating scrum, ghosted through at pace from the 22. Dewing converted.
Manor began the second half in determined fashion and were in the ascendancy for the third quarter. Nevertheless they lacked the Vikings’ creativity in attack and, with play mainly between halfway and the home 22, rarely looked like scoring. The Vikings stayed disciplined, kept their shape and kept making their tackles all over the field.
Time and again the boot of Chalk Hill Brewery man of the match Treglown drove Manor back and with the game entering its final quarter the Vikings began to reassert their control. Manor would not lie down though and, after a rare mistake at a scrum, that man Treglown was there again to make a try saving tackle.
Ten minutes from time Dewing raced away on halfway and was bundled into the corner flag. This was the prelude to two minutes of sustained pressure which ended with Chris Kent bursting through for a try despite the attention of three defenders, Dewing converting. Scenting a bonus point the Vikings surged forward but with four minutes left Manor broke out from their 22 and Reece Reed scored. With the final kick Dewing added a penalty to seal an outstanding team effort.
Next week the Vikings welcome third placed Colchester to Scottow.