The challenging start to the season for the North Walsham Vikings Rugby Club continued with a 14-59 defeat by an experienced and powerful Dorking side, widely regarded as promotion favourites.

The visitors, whose team included both last season’s leading league tries and points scorers, raced into a 19-point lead with three tries, two converted, after just eight minutes.

All were initiated from deep, the Vikings missing their tackles and struggling to cope with Dorking’s pace and running angles.

The hosts briefly came into it a bit more, working themselves into some promising positions.

They were penalised though for holding on and, when they tried to make ground through driving mauls, were held up meaning the scrum put in went to Dorking.

Both these patterns of play were to be repeated throughout the match: like all quality sides, Dorking had a solid defence.

After a 10-minute lull, the visitors then scored two more converted tries in the space of five minutes.

Suddenly though the Vikings got on the scoreboard: after winning a Dorking scrum 40 metres out, McGuire touched down despite heavy traffic and Magnus converted from the touchline. 

The Vikings emerged for the second half determined to give a better account of themselves. They surged forward, retaining the ball well through lots of phases, pinning Dorking in their 22. Within ten minutes they got their reward with another well-finished McGuire try, Magnus again converting from wide.

Most of the final quarter play was in the Vikings’ half nevertheless the home defence was sound preventing further scores.

Niall Lear, the Vikings' director of rugby, said afterwards: “Dorking are a quality side, possibly the best in the league.

"We were poor in the first half, a lot better in the second offensively and defensively, but little lapses kept us away from the chance of a bonus point.”

Match report by Paul Morse