Match Report – Vikings Vs Sevenoaks, 10th February 2024

02/11/20240

Saturday 10 February 2024, Scottow; National League 2 East

Vikings hopes evaporate in the second half as Sevenoaks take control

After a balanced first half of three tries apiece, Sevenoaks took control in the second half to win a contest that had begun with North Walsham full of hope. 15 consecutive defeats had been ended the previous week with the draw away at Wimbledon; home comforts suggested the improving Vikings might be ready for their first win.

The match began in sunshine, masking the fact that the ground was very heavy underfoot. Sevenoaks were quickly into their stride when Southon scored the first of the four forwards’ tries. Adams converted to begin his faultless afternoon. 0-7

The Vikings weren’t prepared to let the messy start run away from them, and Wes McGuire scored an individual try after 10 minutes, flirting with 40m of touchline and narrowing avoiding three opponents. Ross Magnus converted impressively. 7-7

Even better was to come on 16 minutes when the Vikings pushed into Sevenoaks territory, took advantage of a loose penalty to kick for the corner, John Clarke scoring from the line-out. 12-7

Was this the first time that North Walsham had led this season? It wasn’t to last long when Sevenoaks put together a fine sequence of plays to get their centre Stone over on 24 minutes. But then: the Vikings were ahead for a second time when Magnus broke through the Sevenoaks defence on 28 minutes. 19-14

When Sevenoaks scored through Strainge deep into added time to make it 19-21, the deficit seemed hardly to matter. Confidence was there that the Vikings could control the second half and pick up the necessary points. Half time : 19-21

The Vikings came out battling, and had a couple of early chances, but it quickly became clear that Sevenoaks were giving up fewer errors and their back row forwards were starting to stitch together sequences of plays that either kept the Vikings at bay or got Sevenoaks further up the field. For example a well worked move on 48 minutes looked promising, but two penalty concessions later and the Vikings found themselves under pressure in their own defensive left hand corner.

As possession dried up, the Vikings started to try too hard when they did have the ball. Eight times they tried a box kick from the back of a ruck, eight times Sevenoaks regained possession and ground. Deep clearing kicks unerringly found the full-back Adams, and each time he returned the ball with interest! Sevenoaks pressure paid off on 55 minutes with a McRae try. 19-28

In theory the game wasn’t out of North Walsham’s reach, but the control that Sevenoaks were not displaying did make that likely. On 61 minutes they completed the scoring through their No.8 Derrick, and the Vikings defeat now looked assured. 19-35

A yellow card for Harry Langbridge obviously didn’t help, but the final quarter played out in the same way. North Walsham’s possession was short lived, often ended by an error, and Sevenoaks continued to attack with purpose. Full time: 19-35

Sevenoaks are an efficient side. Their full back Adams has a strong left foot, and their back row forwards – each one a scorer today – didn’t let much get past them. However, director of rugby Niall Lear was very disappointed with the way his team failed to execute to the match plan. Lacon’s Brewery man of the match was John Clarke.

 

Scorers:

North Walsham: tries – McGuire, Clarke, Magnus; conversions: Magnus (2).

Sevenoaks: tries – Southon, Stone, Striange, McRae, Derrick; conversions – Adams (5).

 

Teams:

North Walsham: 15. Benji Hewitt, 14. Wes McGuire, 13. Dan Smith ( c ), 12. Ross Magnus, 11. Tawanda Kandemwa; 10. Harry Langbridge, 9. Connor Dudley; 1. Tim Weber, 2. Ewan Kingdon, 3. John Clarke; 4. Hudson de Lucchi, 5. Billy Tait; 6. Leo Langbridge, 7. Jobe Brooks, 8. Charlie Fethney. Replacements: 16. Pieter de Lange (for Hewitt, 67 minutes), 17. Henly Brightman (Clarke, 56), 18. Ethan Holmwood (de Lucchi, 52), 19. Alfie Coop (Magnus, 67), 20. Lucas Atherton (Weber, 67).

Sevenoaks: 15. Ben Adams, 14. Henry Galligan, 13. Barney Stone, 12. Charlie Corrigan, 11. Drew Forrester; 10. Josh Livett, 9. Finley Davenport; 1. James Simmons, 2. Charlie Galligan, 3. George Strainge; 4. Ian Burmeister, 5. Oliver Green; 6. Angus Southon, 7. Matt McRae, 8. Sean Derrick. Replacements: 16. Alex Rolfe, 17. Tom Simmons, 18. Cam Signorini, 19. David Ryfai, 20. George Northcroft.

Referee: Phil Russell

Seb Sutcliffe

sebsutcliffe@gmail.com

07759544694

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