North Walsham made to work hard for another home win
- Credit: Archant
North Walsham did enough to edge a competitive match but only after taking the lead for the third time and resisting a siege in the final quarter.
James Knight joined four teammates – Chris Godwin, Will Hodgson, Tom Browes and Acky Downing – on 100 appearances or more for the hosts on a bright afternoon.
The Vikings needed all of this experience over the next 80 minutes but you wouldn't have guessed it when Jake Duffield scored a try in the second minute, set up by a trademark bustling run from Hodgson. Debutant Lee Thomson scored his first points for the club with the conversion.
The visitors hit back with a penalty before, on 11 minutes, Godwin received a yellow card for a high tackle and Haberdashers' hooker Blundell soon went over for a try, converted by Butterwick.
The hosts were showing good inventiveness in possession but on 31 minutes Haberdashers scored again, although Butterwick missed for the first time to leave the score at 7-15.
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Into injury time Haberdashers had their turn playing with a man down when their scrum-half was yellow carded. The Vikings were able to make the numbers count, Will Swart scoring after a series of well-worked rucks into the left hand corner to reduce the arrears to 12-15 at half-time.
The Vikings felt they could push on in the second half by playing a more straightforward game. Two changes in the forwards saw Ed Sampson and Acky Downing come on and on 46 minutes the second packs' try went to Roydon Miller after strong work by his fellow forwards, Thomson converting.
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Nine minutes later the scales tipped away from the Vikings again when Tom Younie was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on. Again it took Haberdashers a while to capitalise, but capitalise they did with a try from Michaels under the posts which Butterwick converted to restore their lead.
With Younie back on the Vikings went back on top and they scored their best and final try next as strong running from Daniel Smith, Hodgson and Sampson set up Miller for his second try, with Thomson converting.
Haberdashers piled on the pressure after that, but the Vikings stood firm. The Chalk Hill Brewery man-of-the-match was Hal Riley.