North Walsham Vikings Rugby Club returned home still seeking their first league points of the season after going down to Henley 41-14.

The Vikings were on the defensive from the start and were 7–0 down within four minutes.

Henley was dominant, the Vikings rarely going forward, struggling at the set pieces, the lineout particularly, conceding lots of penalties.

On the few occasions they broke out, a lost lineout or penalty immediately put them back on the defensive. 

It continued to be all Henley but a mixture of resolute defence and the host’s imprecision, meant territory and possession didn’t become points until they added a try five minutes before halftime.

Then, with the half’s final play and two in the sinbin, the Vikings suddenly scored.

Lacons Brewery Man of the Match Dudley tapped quickly on halfway and, after a storming 35-metre run by Brooks, Holmwood piled over, Magnus converting.

The second half was different to the first.

The Vikings scrum improved and they occasionally put together some short-lived attacking moves but Henley, a big pacey side, upped their game playing much more precisely than in the first.

Those three early tries, two converted, put the game beyond the Vikings reach. Before the third though came a memorable try from debutant Kandenwa.

From a scrum in their 22, quick hands took the ball to the winger who evaded four would-be tacklers racing 70 metres to score.

Thereafter the visitors never really looked like scoring again. Meantime Henley regularly threatened, but some determined defence kept them at bay save for one further try.

Vikings' director of rugby Niall Lear said: “It’s a steep learning curve for this young side.

“The scrum improvement was a big positive and we were better defensively than last week.

Nevertheless, despite everyone giving their all we struggled.” Next week Barnes visit Scottow, the fifth consecutive fixture against top six 2022 -23 finishers.

Match report by Paul Morse