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Newmarket's Greene King IPA Eastern Counties One Shield trip to North Walsham ends in a draw

Newmarket opened up the second phase of their season with a 22-22 draw away at North Walsham II on Saturday.

The Greene King IPA Eastern Counties One Shield was hampered by Storm Dennis, which in the main made kicking a near on impossible task.

After opting to attack into the windy conditions during the first half, Newmarket got themselves in front with seven minutes on the clock.

Lex Brown
Lex Brown

Freddie McKibben was the try scorer, but with the kick not in between the posts, Tom Clifton had little chance with the subsequent conversion.

With the wind and the slope, the visitors were unable to capitalise on their early advantage and after 30 minutes North Walsham drew themselves level.

Within three minutes Harry Robbins touched down to restore Newmarket’s lead, yet they would go into the break trailing 12-10.

Not only did the home team respond with a try of their own, the resulting conversion was both centrally placed and successful.

North Walsham made good use of the conditions during the opening exchanges of the second half with lofted high balls allowing them to make up some easy territory.

They duly added another converted try and a penalty to their tally, which gave them what appeared to be a significant 10-point lead.

However, Newmarket refused to accept their fate and they got back into the contest when Lex Brown – producing one of his best displays of the season to date – raced clear and scored between the posts to allow Clifton a routine conversion.

Newmarket took control at this point, and while a North Walsham penalty stemmed the tide momentarily, a try from scrum-half Harvey Bell five minutes from time levelled up the scoreline and opened up the chance to win the encounter.

But, with the wind wreaking havoc, Clifton’s conversion attempt drifted wide and so Martyn Wall’s team had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Having carried across five points from the season’s first phase, the weekend draw means Newmarket sit second in the standings, six points adrift of early leaders Norwich Union.

Colchester III will be Newmarket’s visitors on Saturday (2.30pm).