Fakenham travelled to this EC2 North game knowing a win would ensure the league title and a draw would leave an exceptionally small mathematical opportunity for Diss to snatch the title. Diss had a home walkover (5 points) against Dereham at the weekend, which meant that Fakenham would have to push hard for the victory. The game kicked off and North Walsham pressed forward from the whistle and scored an unconverted try to take a 5-0 lead. Fakenham in response struck back within 3 minutes when inside centre Joe Bane-Young darted though the Walsham defence to score close to the post and his brother Tom Bane-Young added the conversion 5-7. Walsham pushed
deep into the Fakenham half and engineered an opening for their winger to attack the Fakenham line and with some indifferent tackling from the visitors the winger forced his way over the try line to score Walsham’s second try, the conversion was again missed, 10-7. From the kick off Fakenham trapped the home side in their own 22 but then engineered an infringement to give a penalty release for Walsham. From the lineout Walsham pressed forward through three phases. Fakenham’s defence was uncharacteristically slow to the tackle and allowed the Walsham number 8 to carve a path to the posts to score a converted try 17-7. Fakenham took the kick off and followed up after both teams had tried to attack but both lost possession through knock forwards, eventually Fakenham strung 6 phases together through their forwards and on the sixth phase a short pass saw Rory Singleton burst over to score a try and Lloyd Marshall was successful from near the left touch line 17-14. The score remained at this level until the half time whistle and a short break for Fakenham to regroup.
The second half saw Fakenham pressing hard to take the lead as concerted attacks took them well into to the home side’s 22 and ultimately Walsham infringed at the breakdown, Lloyd Marshall took the resulting penalty to level the scores at 17-17. Fakenham received the kick off and looked to attack but a slightly lazy pass was intercepted and Walsham had been gifted a try with an easy conversion 24-17. Fakenham rallied and pushed Walsham back into their 22 metre area after a series of reset scrums, Fakenham had dominated the set scrums and special mentions must go to the front row of Richard Warren, Nick James and Rory Singleton ably assisted by the second row of Bob Sayer and captain Adam Lingwood as they now put the home scrum under immense pressure on the Walsham 5 metre line. Fakenham thought they had scored a try three times but the referee did not have a line of sight to confirm it, from the fifth scrum Paul Richardson, the Fakenham scrum half, burrowed over the line and the referee at last had a clear view to award the try. Lloyd Marshall added the two extra points to square the game once again. The last 10 minutes saw both sides launch attacks only to then find themselves defending again at the finish, finally Joe Bane-Young kicked a penalty to touch to end the game as a worthy draw, thus was a much improved Walsham side to the one played earlier in the season and resulted in what was probably the hardest game that Fakenham have played all season. Both teams would get two points from the encounter which means Fakenham are 5 points clear of Diss seconds but with a 264 points difference advantage over Diss, this will make the last league game of the season the meeting between the sides on Saturday 25th March potentially a very tasty offering.
Fakenham first team have a break this coming week with a chance for injuries to heal, the second team have a EC3 North league game hosting UEA at Fakenham kick off will be 3pm support would be very welcome.