North Walsham 15 Luton 39
The start of the season gave little opportunity for North Walsham to settle into a higher league, facing what are expected to be the top six at the season's end one after another.
It is easy to just accept this score and move on but the game had far more to it than that. This was by far and away Vikings' best performance of the season so far and the telling factor was that Luton had pace in abundance.
The game started with both sides looking lively and solid defences preventing any breakthrough before the hosts took the lead with a penalty.
Walsham responded with a powerful run from both Hodgson and Seeley which led to a penalty and Dewing made it 3-3.
Walsham drove straight back from the restart and retained the ball for a number of plays through powerful forward drives before Luton managed to bundle an attack into touch.
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Unable to make much ground from the clearance kick Walsham's Coller took the throw cleanly from the lineout and the pack were able to keep the ball live and drive over for Mike Rouse to get his first try for the club. The conversion was missed.
Walsham continued to press hard and on 30 minutes Hodgson and Knights combined, breaking tackles for Seeley to get close to the line. It was here that the pace of the Luton backs was first evident. They were able to get back quickly in numbers and clear the ball into touch, albeit for a Walsham lineout only 10 metres out. A penalty resulted from the lineout which hit the post and Luton took play to the other end, running at every opportunity to bring their pace into play.
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This soon resulted in a penalty to reduce the arrears to 8-6. Walsham needed to settle down but from the restart Luton moved the ball at pace and squeezed into the corner for a try that made it 11-8 at the interval.
Walsham started the second half well, retaining the ball for a number of plays through forwards and backs and were pressurising the try line before a needless kick was fielded in goal by the Luton full back. He swept across the in-goal area to link with his other backs and take the ball to the other end, touching down under the posts to increase the lead to 17-8. An injury to Knights meant a reshuffle and Luton were quick to exploit the uncertainty to score another converted try and take it to 25-8. Walsham responded well but were trying to force the game and making unnecessary offloads and kicks that handed possession back to Luton.
Regaining composure they retained the ball for a number of plays that sucked in the defence and put Will Hodgson in a one-on-one that saw him make the score and Dewing convert to bring it back to 25-15.
Buoyed by this Walsham continued to press but again let their patience slip and twice handed the ball back to Luton. They are a team that need no second invitation to run and responded with two further converted tries that to be fair were a joy to watch. Heads did not drop and if all the players can develop patience, control and self confidence there is no doubt things will change. There were far more good things to emerge from this game than bad.