North Walsham 76 Ruislip 7: Vikings run in 12 tries in exciting display

Dan Smith touches down for North Walsham against Ruislip on Saturday Picture: HYWEL JONES

Dan Smith touches down for North Walsham against Ruislip on Saturday Picture: HYWEL JONES - Credit: Archant

North Walsham kept up the pressure on the top two by running in 12 tries, six in each half, to overwhelm lowly Ruislip.

It was a memorable all-round performance by the Vikings who exhibited the full array of rugby skills to delight the large crowd.

They went ahead within 21 seconds. Mat Travis gathered the kick-off and made ground before Jim Riley scored after gathering Matt Hodgson's kick ahead. Five minutes later it was 12-0 as Riley offloaded to Matt Hodgson who scored before making the first of eight conversions.

Midway through the half Joe Milligan got the first of his three tries, a comparative rarity in that it came from short range after the Vikings had spent five minutes near Ruislip's line. Next was a try for Jake Duffield, back from injury and playing for the first time this season at scrum-half. This followed another run by Riley, who was creating havoc every time the ball went near him.

With Matt Hodgson orchestrating matters the Vikings kept coming forward and two contrasting tries followed. First Travers was driven over from a five-metre lineout and Ryan Oakes then stole a rare Ruislip lineout close to the Vikings' line, a barnstorming Will Hodgson run took the ball 30 metres, and Riley was again involved before Tom Browes showed pace and handling skills, enabling Chris Godwin to race over to make it 40-0.

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Within three minutes of the re-start the Vikings went further ahead, Dan Smith, returning after three months injured, scoring after Will Hodgson had broken through. Two more tries, both converted, saw Walsham enter the final quarter 59-0 ahead. For the first Milligan evaded four defenders in a 50-metre run and for the second Thomson was on the end of a move which used the full length of the pitch and involved at least nine players.

Ten minutes after joining the fray substitute Roydon Miller got on to the scoresheet after fending off four tacklers over 30 metres. Ruislip, who never capitulated, then deservedly scored, Danny Barry getting a try he converted himself.

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Riley got the Vikings' penultimate try, rounding off a wonderful move, before Smith gathered James Knight's deft kick on halfway and raced away to complete the scoring.

'It was a job well done,' said coach Johnny Marsters afterwards. 'We kept our focus, implemented the game plan and the defence was good.' He named Oakes as Coltishall Red Lion man of the match.

The focus now shifts to next weekend's Colchester trip where victory would put the Vikings in pole position for the promotion play-off place.

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