Hendry hat-trick helps Vikings to convincing win
- Credit: Archant
North Walsham made it six wins from seven with this deserved success over a side determined to atone for their heavy October defeat at Scottow.
The Vikings were 24-9 ahead five minutes after half-time but that was as comfortable as it got and with five minutes left the gap was down to five before the visitors clinically closed out the game.
Stuart Pearham kicked a second-minute penalty for Ruislip, but the Vikings soon imposed themselves with some quick recycling, crisp passing and direct running.
Ruislip's lead lasted three minutes, Josh Brown racing over from 30 metres. James Knight then showed his pace with a searing 60-metre run to put Mike Hendry in and although Pearham kicked another penalty Brown soon got his second try following a trademark run by Will Hodgson and a great pass out of the tackle from Acky Downing.
Matt Hodgson converted before another Pearham penalty made it 17-9 at the end of the first quarter and that was the way it stayed until the break.
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James Brooks put on all his substitutes – Harry Downing Jake Duffield, Jonny Masters – for the second half. Six tries came in the first 30 minutes, each team scoring alternately. The visitors struck first. Will Hodgson broke through on halfway, Knight surged on and Jono Lawson went over, with Matt Hodgson converting. Ruislip replied with a Dan O'Kane try before Chris Godwin scored after major contributions from Will Hodgson and Harry Downing. Back came Ruislip, Seremaia Malawakula's converted try making it 29-21 with a quarter left.
Five minutes on a Hendry try extended the lead, Knight again featuring in the build-up. Sam Hainsworth then scored for the hosts and Ruislip sensed a famous comeback as Pearham's penalty closed the gap to five. The Vikings showed though they know how to win tight games and they penned Ruislip back before Chalk Hill Brewery man-of-the-match Hendry completed his hat-trick, Duffield converting.
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'We knew this would be difficult,' said coach James Brooks after seeing his side win by seven tries to three. 'But we stuck to the task. We weren't as clinical as we would have liked but you have to be pleased at scoring 41 points against such determined opponents.'