With the grumbles of an early start being sated by the prospect of the McDonalds breakfast menu, Old Habs made the long trek up to North Walsham with a top of the table clash awaiting them. With many absentees (Instagram tells me hear South America is great this time of year) OH knew they would need to be on top of their game to come away with the spoils of the day. The start of the game was encouraging as, for the first 10 mins, OH dominated possession earning a series of penalties to work their way up towards the Walsham try line; Charlie Johnson was making early inroads from some ironically loose kicking from Walsham as he tried to put the memories of an attempted loose kick of his own behind him in this fixture last season. However, the points were not forth coming as OH struggle to breakdown their well organised opposition who managed to protect their line with some aggressive line speed and defensive effort leaving OH empty handed and the score poised at 0-0. Sadly, the tables swiftly turned and what commenced was a period of play that saw Walsham showing impressive running rugby and finish ability as they cut through OH opening a 24-0 lead at half time. The OH boys knew they were in a game and needed to react to stem the tide, Will Longhill’s injected some committed and powerful barnstorming runs but the Walsham express chugged on leaving OH with an ever-growing points gap. Credit to the boys who did no throw in the towel and were as committed as ever during the game with OH managing to wrestle control back for the final 10 mins through some powerful work from the pack at set piece time; this saw Ian Sanderson (whose notable increase in workload around the park this has been raising eyebrows across the front row union who see this form of effort as contradictory to their culture) crash over. Moments later OH found themselves with a scrum on the Walsham 5 and another opportunity to put points on the board; then something about tight and loose heads happened and not being able to drive straight or whatever which resulted in a penalty try to OH. Ultimately this late upturn was not enough to secure any points for OH on the day with the final score being 56-14. Credit to Walsham who put up a strong performance and were deserved winners on the day as OH now go away knowing they need to improve as they run into Christmas having been handed a lesson in clinical rugby; thoughts now turn to Luton with OH determined to prove that last week was a blip as we endeavour to get back to winning ways.
Thanks must go to all the supporters who made the long journey out to the game, as always it is greatly appreciated.