Sudbury 12 North Walsham 30: Vikings ensure normal service is resumed after festive break

Joe Milligan puts his pace to good use as North Walsham take the game to Sudbury Picture: HYWEL JONE

Joe Milligan puts his pace to good use as North Walsham take the game to Sudbury Picture: HYWEL JONES - Credit: Archant

North Walsham overcame a well-drilled Sudbury side by four tries to two in an evenly-contested match at Whittome Field.

The Vikings were a little rusty after only one training session during the three-week festive break but went ahead with a Jim Riley try after early pressure. Matt Hodgson added the conversion.

Sudbury responded, charging down a clearing kick for full-back Jake Sumner to beat Vilikesa Vurewa to the touchdown, Tom Summers adding the extras.

Both defences were sound, lying flat and up quickly, with home centres Dan Harding and Charles Jackson needing close attention.

An initial break by Joe Milligan led to a well-worked second score for Riley, which went unconverted, to turn the Vikings around at half-time 12-7 in the lead.

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Ben O'Hickey and Ryan Oakes came on after the break as captain Will Hodgson, playing his 150th game for the Vikings, led an increase in pace.

Home skipper Jake Thurlow was penalised in front of his posts for Matt Hodgson to slot the kick, before James Knight broke away from loose play to score in the right-hand corner, the conversion going awry.

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Another quick retort from Sudbury saw a dash up the left wing and a touchdown for hooker Sam Maile which Summers couldn't convert.

The final quarter saw Dane Canning on at tighthead for Walsham and ex-Viking Chris Kent off the bench for Sudbury, as further pressure led to Chris Godwin wrestling the ball clear and Lachlan Brown-Bates crashing over for the unconverted bonus point try.

Matt Hodgson rounded things off with a further penalty four minutes from time.

Head of Rugby Johnny Marsters named hooker Tom Knight as Coltishall Red Lion man of the match for his quiet work in the scrum and was pleased to grind out a win against a good Sudbury side.

With no serious injuries he should have a full squad to pick from for next weekend's home fixture against Ruislip.

Saturday's victory consolidated Walsham's third place in the London One North table. They are now 14 points clear of fourth placed Old Haberdashers and three adrift of play-off rivals Colchester, who won at Ruislip. The Vikings head to Colchester for their next away fixture on January 19. Rochford Hundred lead the way by eight points after taking maximum points so far.

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