North Walsham 56 Old Haberdashers 14: Vikings produce another polished performance
- Credit: Archant
North Walsham maintained their outstanding form with this polished performance against a side just three points behind them.
They were clinical throughout, with the running and handling spectacular at times and some glorious scores amongst their nine tries.
Haberdashers arrived at Scottow on the back of a single-point defeat against Colchester and, for the first quarter, you could see why they had run the league's second-placed team so close.
But in the 15th minute, against the run of play, the Vikings went ahead when Will Hodgson passed on halfway to brother Matt who shot through a gap before drawing the last defender for Jim Riley to race over. Suddenly it was the Vikings on the offensive and five minutes later they doubled their score with a Mike Braans try, Matt Hodgson again converting.
The Vikings added a 30-metre penalty to stretch their lead and next came a wonderful converted try from Joe Milligan who burst through two tackles on halfway, before evading or driving through four more tacklers on his way to the line.
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The visitors had more than fair share of play in the opening period but after the break the Vikings took over. Five minutes in James Knight gathered a difficult ball and raced 60 metres to make it 29-0. This was followed by a try from Lee Thomson, up in support after Coltishall Red Lion man of the match Roydon Miller had made one of his many incisive breaks.
Four tries, one converted, followed in 10 minutes with the off-loading, support play and lines of running outstanding. A run from Will Swart, who had moved from hooker to the wing, set up an opportunity for Chris Godwin to score, Lachlan Brown-Bates barrelled over from a penalty and then Swart popped up on the opposite wing, making ground before Will Hodgson bounded over. Finally Riley got his second after another Swart run and some slick passing. Inevitably the pace slackened and Haberdashers showed some strength in the scrums, being rewarded with an Ian Sanderson try, converted by Ian McGhee, and a penalty try.
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'A mature performance,' commented Head of Rugby Johnny Marsters, who was particularly pleased with the way they patiently weathered the visitors' early period of dominance.