Luton 13 North Walsham 40: Viking seal emphatic win in magical five-minute spell
- Credit: Archant
North Walsham got their third bonus point away win from three, and six from seven overall, with a well deserved victory in the Bedfordshire sunshine.
Such a winning margin looked unlikely at half-time when they held a 12-8 lead after a subdued performance.
The second half was very different, an early score extending that lead before, in five memorable minutes, Luton's defence was torn to shreds with three long range tries.
The contrast in styles was soon evident: Luton with their big pack were keeping it tight using their forwards to make ground while the Vikings were seeking every opportunity to involve their backs and in the 10th minute Joe Milligan went over in the corner, Matt Hodgson converting.
The Vikings could not build on this however and 15 minutes from the break Tyler Pickford made it 7-5, with some weak defence assisting him. This reverse spurred the Vikings on and five minutes later a slick move took play deep into the 22 where, after some frantic defence, Red Lion Coltishall man of the match Lachlan Brown-Bates barrelled over from a tapped penalty. Luton hit back again however, with a David Hamm penalty reducing the arrears before the break.
The visitors made a dream start to the second half, with a barnstorming run from Brown-Bates and quick hands seeing Jake Duffield pick the perfect line for a converted try.
For the next 15 minutes Luton tried hard to get back in it before the Vikings put the game out of their reach in impressive fashion. After a solid scrum James Knight burst through on halfway, three times subtly changing his running angle for an outstanding individual try. Moments later Milligan broke through on his 22 and Knight and Duffield were both involved before Matt Hodgson scored. Then Knight put Will Minchin into space 10 metres inside his half and the debutant, on as a substitute, showed great pace before passing to Duffield for his second.
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All the tries were converted and all of a sudden it was 40-8.
With 20 minutes left Luton must have feared more scores but they showed commendable resolve and scored themselves when Ben Murphy was driven over.
A delighted head of rugby Johnny Marsters said afterwards: 'We were scrappy first half but the boys worked hard for each other and produced the reaction we were looking for when we talked at half-time.'
A strong North Walsham Raiders side ran in nine tries to beat a mostly youthful Lowestoft & Yarmouth team 55-7 to consolidate second place in the table.
Prop Dane Canning lead the way with a career first hat-trick of tries, with Harry Dye (2), Nem Rokodinono, Michael Mulhall, Vilikesa Vurewa and Eroni Tuimoala also touching down. The conversions came from George Isbell (3) and Dan Goodrich (2).
Norwich Union suffered a second loss in successive weeks in cruel fashion as leaders Beccles came from behind to go ahead in the closing stages of the game to win 29-24.
There was drama in the last play as a Beccles clearance kick went straight to Union left-wing David Sheldon-Smillie but good defence snuffed out the danger. Louis Ford, the www.osteostatis.com man of the match, scored two tries while Graham Hunt and Matt Spenceley also touched down and Tom Whitehouse added two conversions. Blair Hannam (2), Sonny Gardiner and Trish Holtzer got the Beccles tries.