Vikings get first win

North Walsham 22, Sutton & Epsom 5A solid all-round performance saw the Vikings gain their first win of the season, outscoring their opponents by four tries to one.

North Walsham 22, Sutton & Epsom 5

A solid all-round performance saw the Vikings gain their first win of the season, outscoring their opponents by four tries to one.

Despite playing into a strong wind, they were 12-5 up at half-time and, although it took them time to turn territory into points, two tries in the last ten minutes sealed the victory.

The first quarter saw much kicking from hand, but neither side were able to use the windy conditions to advantage.

For the second quarter both teams changed tactics, keeping the ball more in hand. Sutton were in the ascendancy, but strong tackling, with Tom Browes, Josh Reeves and Leon Davies prominent, restricted their progress.

The visitors kept going forward and got their reward with a Craig Bellringer try after 25 minutes.

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The Vikings stuck to the task, tackling strongly, and as half-time approached the forwards began to win some turnover ball at the breakdowns. Two minutes from the break they scored and a quick turnover just inside their half was the source. Gideon Strydom scampered away to feed Chris Kent, who charged 30 metres before passing to Peter Clifford, who broke the tackle to race over, Strydrom converting.

Just two minutes later the hosts extended their lead. Sutton were on the attack again when, following excellent pressure from the home defence, Rob Clymer intercepted a wayward pass and ran the length of the field to score.

The visitors maintained their territorial superiority for the early part of the second half without ever looking like scoring; indeed it was the Vikings who had the chances, but Clifford and Strydom both missed long range penalty attempts.

Gradually the Vikings became more dominant, with most of the play in the Sutton half, but they were finding it difficult though to put together any sustained pressure.

In the 73rd minute, however, the hosts finally managed to score. They were awarded a free-kick on the Sutton 22 and the ball was moved rapidly across the field, where they won possession quickly at the breakdown. Hooker Gareth Hoadley took the pass at pace and weaved his way past four defenders in a speedy 25 metre run to the line where he passed expertly out of the tackle for the outstanding Clymer to score.

Sutton threw caution to the wind and spent five minutes on the attack, sound defence keeping them out.

Eventually Strydom put in a long kick which resulted in a Vikings' line-out five metres out. Supporters anticipated the catch and drive, and a groan went up as this one was lost; Sutton though could not cope with the unexpected possession and Hoadley, having made a try, was on hand to score himself as he pounced on the loose ball.

This completed a well deserved victory, based upon doing the basics well and taking the scoring opportunities when they arose.