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SUDBURY 22: 29  NORTH WALSHAM

SUDBURY 22: 29 NORTH WALSHAM

By David Dunn
25 February 2020
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The spectators at Whittome Field on Saturday were again treated to an excellent, competitive game of rugby


Earlier in the season Sudbury had travelled to Norfolk and given the league leaders a wakeup call losing by only six points and was determined to show it was no fluke.
The Vikings kicked off down the slope in gusty conditions and immediately put pressure on the Sudbury line anxious to take control of the game and prevent Sudbury playing their open game and for the first ten minutes the home side played most of their rugby in their own twenty two.
Sudbury competed equally at several scrums but from a five metre lineout Walsham rolled the maul to trundle over wide on the left for the first score. It was twenty minutes before Sudbury made their first visit to Walsham territory securing a penalty lineout mid-way in the Vikings twenty two, five phases of play saw the ball mauled and then shipped to the middle, mauled and then shipped wide to Jonny Taylor on the right wing to score.
On the half hour walsham showed their handling skills with a well-constructed play to score and convert to retake the lead but Sudbury immediately fought back from the restart to put Taylor just short of the line. Maintaining the pressure Sudbury was awarded a penalty which Josh Wadforth feigned to kick to touch but instead chipped into the middle for Tom Summers who pounced on the ball to score under the posts and Sam Bixby converted to level the scores with five minutes left in the half.
The scores remained level until the break in what was a high intensity half and Sudbury had matched North Walsham in every department.
Walsham again started the half strongly but the Blues defence held firm for the first seven minutes but eventually the Walsham forwards again trundled over the line under the posts. Yet again Sudbury hit back with their own handling skills passing right to left across the park for Sam Maile to finish with a dash for the line.
Sudbury was now able to apply some pressure of their own with some deep, high kicks testing the Vikings backs who knocked on several times giving the Sudbury pack, who was also beginning to enjoy more control, scrums mid-way in the Walsham half. From a breakdown on the twenty two Austin Beckett made the initial break for Charles Jackson to touch down wide on the left to take the lead.
Walsham then scored a soft try sucking in the Sudbury defence with several phases of forward play in the red zone and then popping the ball out to run through a gap under the posts and an easy conversion. Sudbury battled on, never giving up on the result but in the last few minutes Sudbury conceded a penalty which Walsham decided to kick so Sudbury would have to score twice to win in the remaining time.
North Walsham showed why they are going to win the league this season with a professional performance of well-structured rugby, maintaining pressure throughout the match with good skills and consistency. Something Sudbury is capable of but do not always do. The Vikings did say after the game it was probably their hardest this season.

Report by Don Reekie

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