North Walsham Vikings Rugby Club suffered a difficult defeat against Canterbury on Saturday, losing 10-54.

 A halftime scoreline of 10 – 16 suggested the Vikings were in with a chance of a victory, but Canterbury, their huge pack dominant, overwhelmed them in the second half with six unanswered tries.

The pattern of the game was quickly established with virtually all play in the home half, the visitors enjoying abundant possession.

Canterbury’s strength at the scrums and lineouts was soon very evident, whilst the Vikings compounded their difficulties with handling errors and missing touch both from open play and penalties.

Nevertheless, their first-half defence was very solid, and after the first quarter, all Canterbury had to show for their efforts was two penalties.

In the 23rd minute they stretched their lead to 13 - the Vikings were penalised at a scrum 10 metres inside their half, kick to the corner and the copybook driving maul converted try followed.

Canterbury then produced a rare fast-flowing handling move but a great tackle from Lacons Brewery Man of the Match Fethney saved the day. Suddenly, ten minutes from the break, the Vikings, having hardly been out of their half, scored.

Brightman pounced on a wayward Canterbury pass and, after rapid passing between the Langbridge brothers, Dudley and Fethney, Kandemwa raced 40 metres for the try; Magnus converted.

Another Canterbury penalty quickly restored order but Magnus cancelled this out with a long-distance penalty on the stroke of half time.

The second half was very different. Canterbury were far more clinical than in the first, upping their pace and improving their ball retention, whilst the Vikings lost their defensive shape and kept making basic errors and conceding penalties – well into the twenties across the match. Three converted tries took Canterbury to 10 – 37 after 55 minutes.

The Vikings stemmed the flow somewhat thereafter but three more tries, one converted, followed.

North Walsham's director of rugby, Niall Lear, said: “It’s really tough, Canterbury deserved their points.

"We were good in the first half but need to put in 80-minute performances and cut out the basic errors. Mistakes always get punished at this level.”

Next week it’s third-placed Esher away.

Match report by Paul Morse