North Walsham dominate Diss to claim Norfolk Senior Cup glory
The Norfolk rugby crown has returned to the Scottow trophy cabinet for the fifth time, as North Walsham blew away a depleted and dejected Diss.
Four tries in either half saw the Vikings ease to a 48-3 victory in the Woodfordes Norfolk Senior Cup final, with five tries from outside-centre Rhys Davies-Horne doing the majority of the damage.
It was the third successive season that the two clubs had met in the competition’s final, with Diss having won 27-16 last year and 22-10 in 2012.
But Diss have seen their progress take a backwards step this season after winning just three games all season to finish 13th in London One North and slip to relegation.
Walsham, on the other hand, have continued their rehabilitation from previous troubles by finishing seventh in the same division and winning all but one of their home matches.
That difference in fortunes was soon apparent yesterday, with Walsham scoring the first try after just two minutes, when giant full-back James Knight broke the game-line and passed to the supporting Davies Horne to dive over.
Knight converted for a 7-0 lead but Diss soon had a chance to hit back with two penalties in front of the posts in quick succession, but Peter Chartier only took one of those chances.
Walsham then started to put their foot on the gas and winger Wayne Williams ran in a try on the left in the 15th minute, converted by Knight, and Davies-Horne extended that lead to 19-3 with another try on the far left four minutes later.
Davies-Horne completed his hat-trick just before the break after good pressure from the forwards on the Diss try-line, with Knight hitting the post with the conversion to leave the score at 24-3 at the break.
The second half saw Diss hand Walsham a large helping hand towards their win.
Knight benefited from great running by Williams on the left to eventually receive on the right in the 43rd minute, before powerfully charging through to chase his own kick and touch down.
The score stayed at 29-3 until the 73rd minute, when winger Shane van Vuuren went over in the corner on the right after Diss had messed up a lineout on the left on their own 22.
Replacement Dave Treglown took over kicking duties and bumped the score to 36-3, before converting again three minutes later after poor play from Diss.
Another replacement, Mike Rouse, proved forwards can kick as well after seizing on a loose ball and kicking deep into Diss territory.
Jack Hoyles and Davies-Horne then sprinted towards the scrambling defence, and Davies-Horne saw the clearance kicked right into his grasp, to run in the most amusing try of the day.
Davies-Horne still had time for one more though, again after Diss made a mess of a lineout in their own half, to see the ball spread right to Knight, who rampaged forward and allowed his team-mate to continue his starring role.
After the match Walsham head coach Nick Greenhall was happy enough with his team’s showing, saying: “In terms of performance I don’t think Walsham played as well as they have quite a lot this season but it’s a tough day to get yourself up for because there’s a lot of adrenaline flying around.
“It’s a local derby, there are family and friends watching, so it’s a tough one to keep your feet on the ground and play as well as you normally would.
“So in some ways I don’t think we performed as well as we can but there was a fair few tries and glimpses of very, very good skill level.
Diss director of rugby Paul Cochrane was happy to admit Walsham deserved the win as he turned his attentions to a summer of rebuilding, but stressed his side was not at full strength.
“Jamie Burroughs pulled out with a shoulder injury and quite rightly so, he’s not been fit for a few weeks,” Cochrane explained.
“Peter Bray pulled out of the front row, we had the back row split up, we weren’t at full strength, as we haven’t been all season really.
“Up front in the forwards all year, even against the good sides, we’ve competed quite well but we didn’t have people like Tim Groom playing today.
“We’ve struggled in the backs, Warren Wilby has had an operation and been out since Christmas, Jack Peacock has been injured since Boxing Day, Joe Seaman has played brilliantly at scrum-half, he had a good game.
“We’ve struggled because of that so we just haven’t played consistently, and that’s what we want, to get on a consistent run.”