Former British Lions’ star Shaw is guest of honour at North Walsham

Members of North Walsham's colts team pose for a picture with former British Lions and England star

Members of North Walsham's colts team pose for a picture with former British Lions and England star Simon Shaw. Picture: Club - Credit: Archant

There were Wasps aplenty at North Walsham Rugby Club's recent annual dinner.

Guest speaker, British Lion and England international Simon Shaw, played most of his club rugby at Wasps and he was reunited with Vikings head of rugby James Brooks and former North Walsham youth player Joe Beardsaw, now coach of the under-sevens, both of whom played for many years in the Premiership with Wasps.

More than 200 were at Rossi's Leisure to celebrate the Vikings' successful season in London One North and hear Shaw talk about his professional career which spanned over 20 years, finishing with a spell in France at Toulon.

He recalled how he first played rugby seriously for Cranleigh's youth teams and posed for a picture with members of the Vikings Colts squad, including youth player of the year Joe Fairweather.

Jono Lawson was chosen by the players and coaches as Vikings' Player of the Year.

'Jono was consistently one of our top players all season', said Brooks, 'Always at the forefront, his work rate was exceptional.'

He selected Ed Sampson as most improved player, commenting: 'Ed has been a great find; he grabbed his opportunity when he got into the first team in October and has gone on improving as the season progressed.'

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Meanwhile Will Hodgson was selected as North Walsham Vikings' Chalk Hill Brewery Player-of-the-Month for April/May.

'Will has led our defensive aggression all season with some huge hits and he did so again last month,' said Brooks.

'He never takes a backward step and epitomises what being a North Walsham Viking is all about.'

Will joined the club in 2011 when a UEA student and has since made 115 appearances. Originally a centre he made the successful transition last October to No 8, from where he has continued to play a key role offensively and defensively, scoring 16 tries this season. With 330 points he is North Walsham's 10th highest points scorer.

Now a teacher at Angel Road Junior School in Norwich he commented: 'It has a been a really enjoyable season; there is a great camaraderie throughout the club and James has developed the squad's skills and teamwork. I'm already looking forward to next season.'