The second game of 2020 saw the Magentamen travelling 3 hours to take on table toppers North Walsham, who have had an impressive season to date losing only one game. Despite the long journey, the lads were full of enthusiasm and excited for the challenge ahead. The warm-up, as described by skip Jonny Whittle, was ‘the best of the year’, with the lads looking energised after a healthy booze-free start to 2020. The North Walsham fans were out in strength which only further added to the excitement of the occasion.
It was a fiery start to the game with both teams having the opportunity to get on the front foot in attack. A sublime break from Simon Miller early on, through Walsham’s usually water tight defence, unfortunately came to no avail, but at the very least gave the lads encouragement. The pack were looking strong marching forward at scrum time, albeit at slower rate than usual due to a few heavy hitters in Walsham pack, but forward nevertheless.
Despite the promising start, the momentum started to turn after a couple of breakdown misdemeanours and some impressive attacking pressure from the home side. Habs were at times slow to react to the quick tap penalties, allowing Walsham to cross for 2 tries in the space of 10 minutes. 14-0 and the momentum was well and truly with the home side. Whether tactical or not Sam ‘soft’ Fisher came to the rescue and took a knee to get his shoulder strapped, taking the bite out of Walsham’s attack and allowing the lads to get to half time unscathed.
Despite some aggressive defence the first score of the second half went to the home side, with an unconverted try. After a number of impressive phases, Walsham managed to breakdown the defence and score in the corner. Walsham shortly after added the bonus point score to take the score to 24-0. Not a great start to the second half but the lad’s heads didn’t drop and the final 20 minutes were much more promising. The pack managed to regain some dominance and give the backs a bit of front foot ball. Territory wise Hab’s were also on top pushing the home side back into their 22 and stringing some great phases together in attack. Eventually the hard work was rewarded with Harry Briffitt bundling over in the corner 2 minute from time. This was much to the relief of Andrew ‘Monkey‘ Sanderson who had, minutes before, butchered the clearest 2 on 1 of the season 2 metres from the line.
Final score 24-5. Not the result the Magentamen were hoping for but nevertheless a gritty, dedicated performance against a strong, well drilled North Walsham side.