North Walsham Vikings Rugby Club went down 59-7 in a difficult away match at Esher. 

Third-placed Esher ran in nine tries, eight from their very impressive back division.

Despite being 28 – 0 down at halftime, the Vikings never gave up and had their moments, but their periods of offensive pressure were few and far between.

The Vikings were immediately on the back foot and had barely touched the ball when Esher got their first converted try in the sixth minute.

By the midpoint of the half they had tripled their score with two more. The Vikings were putting in the tackles with Brooks, Fethney and Leo Langbridge and de Lange prominent, but they were racking up the penalties – Esher had secured seven before they got their first – and struggling for clean set piece possession.

An expertly fielded high ball by Lacons Brewery Man of the Match Hewitt then initiated a short spell when they forced Esher to show their defensive qualities, but the hosts were soon back on the attack, getting their fourth converted try on 26 minutes.

Sound defence kept them out until halftime, despite two yellow cards meaning they were down to 14 for all but two minutes of the half’s last 15.

Failure to secure Esher’s kick-off led to an early second-half try, the only one not converted. Esher then turned on the style, running the Vikings ragged with three seven-pointers in 16 minutes: 54 – 0, just over a quarter left.

Determined to stem the flow, the Vikings then played their best rugby of the match. Esher completed their scoring with eight minutes left before got a try following a run by Hewitt; Atherton converted.

Niall Lear, the Vikings' director of rugby, said: “It was tough, but Esher are a quality side.  “We were 50pc better in the second half than the first. I can’t fault the team for effort and we showed in the final quarter what we can do offensively.”

Next Saturday the Vikings play Guernsey at home.

Match report by Paul Morse