Vikings 3 Brentwood 18 Report from Graham Price
Vikings go down to honourable defeat
North Walsham lost at home to a well drilled Brentwood side, by two tries to nil, and stay 4th in London 1 North, now five points behind the visitors, who remain in 3rd place.
The Vikings lost Number 8 and captain Ryan Oakes in the first minute of the game, stretchered off to hospital with a serious leg injury, which unsettled the pack. The match restarted after a seven minute delay with Chris Godwin moving to number eight and Tom Knight on at open side.
League position suggested a close tussle, and so it proved during the first period, with honours even in the scrums, although the Walsham lineout failed to spark, despite a couple of steals by Tom Coller either side of half time.
Chalk Hill Brewery Man of the Match Matt Hodgson kicked well out of hand during this time, using the cross wind to keep his team in the right areas of the pitch, but despite several phases of possession the Vikings never got closer than 5 metres from the visitors’ line.
Tom Browes replaced an injured Tim Weber after 33 minutes, before Hodgson struck a penalty from in front of the posts to keep Walsham just in front until the break.
The second half saw Brentwood put together numerous flowing moves in the three quarter line, and with their heavier pack sharper at the breakdown, captain Josh Woodcock went close, before blind side Ben Amato touched down for a try, which went unconverted.
Visiting centre Henry Bird then struck two penalties before Mark McCall hobbled off with a knee injury, and Ethan Benney took up the challenge from the bench.
Second row Woodcock then got over for a try, converted by Bird, as Brentwood kept up the pressure.
Godwin was prominent in defence, as were Browes and Aki Downing, and Jono Lawson carried well throughout, before Harry Downing stole the ball in the maul and made a good break, but continuity was lacking. Walsham began to kick away possession, often when not under immediate pressure, but saw out the game with no further score forthcoming.
Head of Rugby James Brooks couldn’t fault his team’s heart and effort, but felt the loss of captain Oakes affected his team, resulting in missed collisions and stripped lineouts in the second half. The plan is to advance the skill set and improve execution when the opportunity to take points presents itself.
Team:- 15/ Josh Brown 14/ Harry Downing13/ Mike Hendry 12/James Knight 11/ Vilikesa Vurewa 10/ Matt Hodgson 9/ Jake Duffield 1/ Aki Downing 2/ Mark McCall (18/ Ethan Benney 62m) 3/ Tim Weber (16/ Tom Browes 33m) 4/Jono Lawson 5/ Tom Coller 6/ Ed Sampson 7/ Chris Godwin 8/ Ryan Oakes (C) (17/ Tom Knight 2m).
Scorer:- Penalty :- M Hodgson.
Head of Rugby:-James Brooks. Manager:-Mark Oakes.
Physio :-Jocelyn Berry. Touch Judge:-Richard Hewitt.
Referee:- Benedict Preece. (S. E. Group).