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Sudbury head coach Neil Dachtler has mixed feelings after running league leaders North Walsham close once again




Sudbury’s continuing improvement was amply demonstrated at Whittome Field on Saturday when they ran London 1 North runaway leaders North Walsham close, going down 29-22 in a hard-fought and entertaining game, a display and result that left head coach Neil Dachtler with mixed feelings.

“It’s a learning curve this season. We’re improving. We have to take the good bits from today and keep building on them,” said Dachtler. “We matched them in intensity and we played some good rugby.”

Only two other sides have topped 20 points against Walsham in their 21 games this season, Colchester and Harpenden, both above Sudbury in the table and challenging for the promotion play-off spot.

Sudbury v North Walsham - Sam Maile.Pic - Richard Marsham/RMG Photography. (29952055)
Sudbury v North Walsham - Sam Maile.Pic - Richard Marsham/RMG Photography. (29952055)

The difference on Saturday, Dachtler felt, was “cool heads in the right areas. It’s probably because they are a bit more mature than we are; players who have played together a little bit longer than we have.

“We thought that if we stayed within reach of them at half-time, going in with the same number of points, we thought we’d be able to get over the line.

“I’m disappointed with a couple of points where we scored but the tries were disallowed. We’ve just got to keep our cool a little bit more and finish things off.

Sudbury v North Walsham - Chris Whybrow.Pic - Richard Marsham/RMG Photography. (29952052)
Sudbury v North Walsham - Chris Whybrow.Pic - Richard Marsham/RMG Photography. (29952052)

“When we got our noses in front we needed to consolidate, become a little bit tighter, hit the middle a bit more, split the defence, rather than trying to play a wider game. But I’m really encouraged because we looked threatening a lot, and it gives us great hope for next weekend.”

Sudbury visit Chingford on Saturday, looking to complete a double over a side they beat 42-15 in November.

“They will be a lot harder than they were when they came here,” he said. “We have to give them respect, but if we can have a similar performance to what we had today we’ll come away as victors.”

The spectators at Whittome Field on Saturday were again treated to an excellent, competitive game of rugby, the result of which was never certain until the final whistle.

Sudbury v North Walsham - Charles Jackson.Pic - Richard Marsham/RMG Photography. (29952054)
Sudbury v North Walsham - Charles Jackson.Pic - Richard Marsham/RMG Photography. (29952054)

Sudbury were forced to mainly play the opening 10 minutes in their own twenty two.

Walsham opened the scoring from a five-metre scrum when they rolled the maul to trundle over wide on the left.

It was 20 minutes before Sudbury made their first visit to Walsham territory, but they made it count with a good period of possession working an opening for Jonny Taylor to score in the right-hand corner.

Walsham’s smart handling saw them retake the lead with a converted try on the half-hour mark but Sudbury came right back at them with Tom Summers pouncing on a clever Josh Wadforth chipped penalty. Sam Bixby’s conversion levelled the scores going into half-time.

Walsham again started strongly and within 10 minutes had trundled over under the posts. But Sudbury hit back again with a sweeping move seeing Sam Maile finish.

The hosts had the crowd roaring when they took the lead after Charles Jackson dotted down after Austin Beckett broke away but the good work was then undone as they let the Vikings in for a soft try and an easy conversion.

In the last few minutes a conceded a penalty gave Walsham the chance to kick for the posts to give Sudbury too much to claw back, which they duly did.


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