North Walsham 52 HAC 10: Vikings round off home campaign with second half super show
- Credit: Archant
In their final home game of a memorable season an outstanding second half took the Vikings to a big win over the team immediately below them.
Their first half performance was mixed but after the break their pace, decisiveness and organisation overwhelmed the visitors, with 33 answered points behind scored.
At times the backs looked capable of scoring from anywhere, though as ever the victory was built on solid defence, quick breakdown ball and a stable set-piece platform.
The Vikings scored within a minute, Roydon Miller, prominent throughout, bounding over to complete a move he had started on halfway, and Matt Hodgson converted. Soon after they nearly scored again Joe Milligan running 70 metres, but his inside pass was fumbled.
HAC settled, enjoying a good 10 minutes, and were rewarded when former Viking David Treglown made it 7-3 with a penalty on 20 minutes. The Vikings were beginning to look a bit out of sorts but from the restart they stepped up a gear and within five minutes doubled their score. James Knight and Lachlan Brown-Bates almost got over before pressure led to a 15 metres line-out. Jake Duffield made a half break and then quick hands took the ball to Milligan who evaded three defenders.
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Coltishall Red Lion man of the match Dan Bird was then inches short, Hodgson was hauled down five yards out after an audacious run, before, 10 minutes from the break Brown-Bates made it 19-3 following a 40 metre run by Will Swart.
Almost immediately it was 19-10. Vikings failed to gather the kick off and HAC took advantage, Laurence Anfo-Whyte getting a converted try.
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Vikings got the crucial next score two minutes after the break when Dan Smith sliced through the middle from 30 yards in a well-worked move. Hodgson made the third of his seven conversions before gathering the kick-off and making a monstrous 70 metre kick to put HAC back under pressure. Eight minutes on and it became 33-10, Milligan getting his second after Ryan Oakes had ripped the ball out of a tackle.
HAC then again showed their quality but the defence was up to the task with good line speed, strong tackles, and sound organisation against the driving maul and the visitors' good spell was ended by Knight scoring after a long run by Jim Riley. Though they continued to defend stoutly that ended HAC's resistance as the Vikings poured forward, Will Minchin getting two tries to end a memorable half.
Whilst critical of the first half Johnny Marsters commented: 'It was a great victory and a wonderful way to sign off for the season in front of our own supporters. I am really pleased for the players who work so hard and whom I'm proud to coach.'