Match ends early - but Walsham’s win stands
PUBLISHED: 21:35 23 March 2016 | UPDATED: 21:35 23 March 2016
Luton 7 North Walsham 12
North Walsham secured victory in the 78th minute against bottom side Luton after fielding a team which needed time to gel after several changes.
Despite handling errors from both sides, the early pressure in this London One North encounter was from the home 15, although the Vikings had the edge in the scrum.
Chris Godwin and Tom Williams went well in the loose and Jimmy Goodliffe had an early run on the left wing, but put a foot in touch.
Poor throwing-in meant that the Walsham lineout did not function and the majority of the first half was played in the visitors’ territory.
The first score came when Luton centre Chris Davies crossed to the left of the posts just before the half hour for Rick Hobbs to convert.
Jeff Theron came off the bench when full back Jake Duffield left the field with a blood injury, before Cory Malcolm broke, with Ryan Oakes in the line, for Chris Kent to put Will Hodgson over for a try just before the break. Matt Hodgson converted with a difficult kick from near the right touchline to even the scores at 7-7.
After the interval Tom Browes took over hooking duties and improved the lineout dynamics as Walsham began to put together several phases and applied pressure to the Luton defence.
Neumi Rokodinono was held up over the line, followed by Williams, who was also prevented from touching down.
Walsham were then adjudged to have tackled dangerously, resulting in a melee from which the referee sent Aki Downing and home scrum half Tom Mahendran to the sin bin.
Ethan Benney broke down his wing before Williams and Godwin worked their way to within five metres of the home line.
Duffield fed Williams, who put Chalk Hill Brewery man-of-the-match Kent over for the winning score. Duffield missed the conversion.
Downing went off with an injury before Duffield hit the left upright with the second of two penalties. The Luton player fielding the rebound was tackled in the air, resulting in a fracas under the posts. The referee then abandoned the match with only minutes remaining, the final score staying at 7-12.
Coach Nick Greenhall felt the skill level and execution shown by his side was poor and in an open game they didn’t hold possession long enough to put a poor home team under pressure.
Walsham remain fifth in London One North, with their next game on April 2 at home to Ruislip.
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