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Vikings - Match centre

North Walsham
Sat 4 Mar 15:00 - London & SE Division - London 1 North Full time

Brentwood 31 Vikings 25 Report from Sebastian Sutcliffe

The Vikings were edged out in a true ‘game of two halves’ by five tries to three in windy Essex on Saturday.

The Vikings were edged out in a true ‘game of two halves’ by five tries to three in windy Essex on Saturday.

Kicking off with the wind and down the slope Walsham knew they would have to probably take a lead into half-time, and they set about that objective with good intent, punching holes into the Brentwood defence with swift passing and strong kicking. The scoring started on four minutes when a penalty conceded gave Matt Hodgson a simple kick through the posts. 0-3

Brentwood were really struggling to contain the Vikings deep kicks on the bouncy ground, which allowed captain Ryan Oakes to pinch the ball and nip over after 11 minutes, M. Hodgson again kicking true for 0-10.

On 18 minutes Brentwood did well to stop a penalty kick going into touch, but a wild pass was well caught by Harry Downing who skipped through, and once again M. Hodgson’s kick was successful. 0-17

On 21 minutes the dominant Viking pack turned over a scrum on the half-way line, M. Hodgson kicked deep and again the Brentwood defence struggled conceding a penalty 10m out for M. Hodgson to again score points from. 0-20

Despite the points advantage, Brentwood had the best of the rest of the first half, forcing the Walsham defence to dig deep - which they did with purpose and resolve. On 34 minutes it looked like Brentwood would get their first points, but a straightforward kick was pulled well wide. 2 minutes later it seemed that they would certainly score as Acky Downing was sin-binned, but further strong defence kept them at bay, the half finishing 0-20.

Brentwood looked much happier playing downhill with the wind, especially as Walsham still had the man in the sin-bin. They did finally get on the scoresheet on 44 minutes, though once again the kick went wide. 5-20

On 52 minutes good attacking down Brentwood’s left saw scrum-half and Chalk Hill Brewery man-of-the-match Will Findlay sneak round the back of a ruck and down the blindside, crossing the line at the corner before the Essex team could respond. Unfortunately for M. Hodgson it was too wide for him to keep his 100% record. 5-25

Brentwood scored their second try on 56 minutes, there was another kick missed; and then they scored their third on 64 minutes. This time the replacement fly-half was able to kick over for 17-25. The match was poised with 15 minutes to go. Walsham probably needed one more try, but Brentwood had shown in the first half that they were vulnerable to strong running.

Unfortunately, full-back Jake Duffield came off for a heavy knock, and his replacement Ethan Benney was quickly yellow-carded for a deliberate kick. Brentwood kicked the penalty to touch, won the line out, and when their rolling maul took them over the line for a converted try and 24-25.

Walsham continued to attack when they could, winning a penalty in a central position that M. Hodgson pulled wide meaning that he finished his afternoon with a record of 4 kicks from 6. With 2 minutes to go Brentwood got another maul rolling, but when the Vikings forwards pulled it down a penalty try was awarded, which was converted for 31-25.

The rest of the match took place in the Brentwood half, the Vikings knowing that if they had to score a try before the ball went dead. Excellent recycling of possession was matched by excellent Brentwood defence - and a yellow card for their flanker - but in the end it was the defence that won out as short pass went forward and the final whistle went.

Brentwood will have been delighted with their win, but the Vikings were left with regret for conceding yellow cards at important moments. Walsham scored well from opportunistic moments, but didn’t do enough to slow the Brentwood team when they finally built up some momentum.

Vikings Team: 1. Acky Downing, 2. Tom Browes, 3. Jonny Masters; 4. Ryan Oakes ( C ), 5. Jono Lawson; 6. Ed Sampson, 7. Chris Godwin, 8. Will Hodgson; 9. Will Findlay, 10. Matt Hodgson; 11. Mike Braans, 12. James Knight, 13. Josh Brown, 14. Harry Downing; 15. Jake Duffield. Replacements: 16. Tim Weber (for Masters), 17. Tom Coller (for Sampson), 18. Ethan Benney (for Duffield).

Scorers - tries: Oakes, H. Downing, Findlay; penalties: M. Hodgson (2); conversions: M. Hodgson (2).

OMW Skills Series: Evasion

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Tring 26 118
2. Chingford 26 104
3. Brentwood 26 103
4. North Walsham 26 94
5. Eton Manor 26 85
6. Thurrock 26 70
7. Ruislip 26 59


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