Early penalty as good as it gets for Vikings


rugby - Credit: Archant

North Walsham 3 Tring 27

North Walsham lost at home for the second time this season to a skilful side pushing for promotion.

The Vikings were in control for the first 15 minutes on a soft pitch, but were only 3-0 ahead by the time the visitors took the initiative. Will Hodgson was sharp in the centre and the scrum was solid, with Tom Williams and Aki Downing prominent.

Tom Lomax over-hit a kick to the corner, before Matt Hodgson was successful with his second pot at the uprights. Tom Newton drew Tring level with a penalty as play settled in the Walsham half.

Ryan Oakes collected good ball on the Vikings' throw, but penalties began to mount against the home side as pressure began to tell. A final warning from the referee for repeated infringements at the breakdown was followed by a yellow card for Matty Norfolk-Clarke before Theo Gayton crossed the line for Newton to convert.

The Vikings put together some useful phases involving Chris Godwin and Ethan Benney, but a long clearance kick by Newton set up a try for Tring captain Nick Radley. Newton added the conversion to send the visitors in 17-3 ahead at half-time.

Tring continued to take the ball at speed as Walsham struggled with slow delivery from the ruck and poor kicking out of hand.

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Nick Greenhall brought on all three bench replacements before the hour, yet the Vikings were lucky not to go further behind as Newton first missed a penalty and was then tackled into touch.

Tring flanker Harry McCartney took the third touchdown and Newton missed the easy conversion before a series of grubber kicks beat the Walsham defence and Gayton scored the bonus point try, Newton again failing with the place kick.

Greenhall agreed his side were beaten by the better team, who were good both in attack and defence, whereas he felt the Vikings lacked organisation in attack and that poor defensive lineout play gave the visitors a lot of the ball. Tight head prop Tim Weber was Chalk Hill Brewery man of the match. Before kick-off there was one minute's silence for the late Mickey Byrne, player, sponsor and good friend of the Vikings. A collection was taken at half-time, to be donated to the NSPCC in his memory.

The greater experience of North Walsham Radiers was too much for UEA Saxons, with the visitors winning 65-3. The students were first to score but thereafter were unable to handle the superior forward strength of the Raiders who by half-time had five tries and 36 points in the bag. The pressure was maintained in the second half with a further six tries. The tries came from Ashley Speight (4), Vilikesa Vurewa (2), Henry Hunt (2), Tom Younie, Seb Roberts and Tom Knight. Hunt added three conversions and man-of-the match Cory Malcolm two.