North Walsham 41 Letchworth GC 0 – Vikings wrap up first home triumph of the campaign
- Credit: Hywel Jones
The Vikings turned on the style at sunny Scottow to defeat a Letchworth side who were no pushovers.
The hosts were 15-0 up at the break and pushed on to complete a London One North victory which included six tries.
Their win was based on solid defence, patience and the vision to see, and then take, counter attacking opportunities; five tries came through counter attacks and the home line was rarely threatened.
All the play in the first quarter was in the Letchworth half but Walsham's territorial dominance was not converted into points. In stark contrast to later, the early exchanges were fairly scrappy with both sides defending well and whilst the home side looked the stronger their attacks lacked continuity.
In the 20th minute, moments after ignoring a two man overlap, they took the lead with a Matt Hodgson penalty. Four minutes later it became 8-0; Letchworth spilled the ball on halfway after a crunching tackle by Jono Lawson, he and Ryan Oakes hacked it on and the latter gathered to bound over from 30 metres.
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The Vikings went back on the attack, and it seemed they must score again, especially when Letchworth received two yellow cards with their opponents camped in their 22. Nevertheless a combination of resolute defending and over eager attacking kept them out and, against the odds, Letchworth enjoyed one of their better periods.
Then, on the stroke of half-time, the lead was extended with a breathtaking converted try that began deep in home territory where Freddie Henley-Hunter made the initial break which was continued on by Matt Hodgson and Lawson, enabling Will Hodgson to race 40 metres to score.
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One minute into the second half another converted try made it 22-0. Will Hodgson gathered a loose ball, burst through three tackles and the ball was quickly recycled twice before Henley-Hunter showed good balance and acceleration to weave his way over.
For the next 10 minutes Letchworth had much the best of the play but with the Vikings keeping their defensive shape they rarely built any momentum. Tom Lomax came on for his debut and the scrum-half was soon into the action making some noteworthy tackles.
In the 55th minute Vikings' pressure forced a loose pass on halfway, Will Hodgson intercepted and he went in for the fourth try and the bonus point; brother Matt converted. With Tom Williams,
Chris Godwin and Chalk Hill Brewery man of the match Lawson leading the way the home side went in search of more points. With 15 minutes left, following quick ball from a breakdown, Godwin scored after gathering Lomax's neat kick and two minutes later Shane van Vuuren added a converted try. This came when Matt Hodgson broke on halfway to find the ever-present Lawson who put the winger away with a long pass.
The game then meandered rather and three late yellow cards meant the Vikings finished with 12 players; Letchworth pounded away, but the home side showed tremendous character to hold out.
This third win from four takes the Vikings up to fifth in the table.