North Walsham run in eight tries to put double setback behind them

Dan Smith shows a neat turn off pace as North Walsham dominate at Saffron Walden. Picture: Hywel Jon

Dan Smith shows a neat turn off pace as North Walsham dominate at Saffron Walden. Picture: Hywel Jones - Credit: Archant

North Walsham got a deserved first win in three after running in eight tries to four at Saffron Walden.

It was, however, an inconsistent performance which veered from outstanding to well below par.

Leading 33-5 at the break against a side with just two wins, the Vikings conceded three tries in 15 minutes before impressively reasserting their authority.

The visitors began imperiously and within five minutes were ahead, Will Hodgson bursting through on an angled run after a textbook catch and drive from a five-metre line-out.

Jim Riley, back from injury, then almost scored after a scintillating move involving brother Hal and Dan Smith before, in the 10th minute, James Knight put Acky Downing into space and the prop raced over and Jake Duffield converted.

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Two minutes later Duffield gathered a kick on halfway, Roydon Miller made ground and Harry Downing was in support for a converted try.

Luke O'Malley reduced the arrears after a poor defence from a lineout before Jim Riley sliced through for a converted try, after Tom Younie had breached the defence, to stretch the lead. The Vikings' intensity then dropped but on the stroke of half-time Hal Riley surged through on a 40-metre run to give Smith the scoring opportunity, with Duffield converting.

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A lacklustre Vikings emerged after the break and within five minutes conceded two tries, Ben Nash and Sam Eardley scoring, Tom Price converting one. The gap became 11 in the 55th minute, with Tom Pryce awarded a try when it seemed the Vikings had repelled another driving maul.

The tide then suddenly turned again and with their first meaningful attack of the half the Vikings scored when Knight broke from a driving maul and the ubiquitous Hodgson was there to score to make it 38-22.

There was no stopping the Vikings now and, with 10 minutes left, Lachlan Brown-Bates proved unstoppable from 30 metres. Finally, at the death, Knight deservedly got on the scoresheet, racing 70 metres after breaking three tackles, substitute Ben O'Hickey converting.

James Brooks named Will Hodgson, outstanding in defence and attack, as Chalk Hill Brewery man of the match.

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