Match Report – Vikings Vs. Bury St.Edmunds – 16th December, 2023


Saturday 16 December 2023, Scottow


National League 2 East


North Walsham Vikings 5, Bury St Edmunds 45

Suffolk beat Norfolk by seven tries to one

This reporter wrote up the reverse fixture, played in September sunshine that seems very distant, and was looking for signs of improvement. He found it, but perhaps not in the way that he expected.

It was a rather lovely winter’s day at Scottow, but the ground was heavy beneath the players’ feet, and the fact that the quality of the rugby was so high is a credit to all of them. Bury kicked off, giving the Vikings the first touch of the ball, but when they won the ball back they kept hold of it for virtually all of the first eleven minutes. Despite valiant defence, wave after wave of pressure finally told and Bury opened the scoring through Grigg-Pettitt, converted by Bury’s man-of-the-match Penfold. 0-7

On the restart, Bury winger Attfield nearly broke through down the left; but on 15 minutes he was more successful and set up a try for Bursey, Penfold hitting the post with his kick. On 29 minutes another sustained assault on the Vikings’ defence brought the third try through centre Kharbouch. 0-19

The Vikings were finding it very tough: what scraps of possession they gained was too near their own line to play ambitious passes, and kicks downfield inevitably saw the ball return, but this time in Bury’s hands. When on 33 minutes a penalty brought the Vikings a line out a mere 25m from the Bury line, a knock on meant the chance was lost.

Things got worse on 36 minutes when Walsham winger Wes McGuire was yellow carded: the Vikings conceded twice as the first half came to an end. First the excellent Bursey scored, and then Attfield had the awareness to score when the Vikings stopped a deep kick going into touch – the Bury winger was first to the loose ball and scored unopposed. Half time: 0-31

The second half began like the first: the Vikings having to work very hard to get into the Bury half, and Bury applying intense pressure on the Vikings’ line. Pressure told on 51 minutes with Bourne’s first try. 0-38

Considering how hard the Walsham defence had been made to work, it looked like being a whitewash, but the final third of the match was actually the Vikings’ best period. Bury’s quality didn’t drop, but an injection of fresh legs gave the Vikings a few options. They began to gain possession in the Bury half, which allowed them to move the ball faster and with more bravery. Connor Dudley – alert and lively for the whole match – and the fast improving Harry Langbridge started to dictate the pace of the game. A break on 57 minutes was lost to a knock on again, but on 60 minutes Dudley got his deserved try, H. Langbridge’s kick dropping just short. 5-38

Despite further half chances, it was Bury who completed the scoring on 66 minutes when Bourne – part of a superb Bury back row – got his second, and Penfold his fifth conversion from seven. Final score: 5-45

It was a tough afternoon for the Vikings. Bury are a big but mobile team and made very few errors throughout the game. However, Walsham worked tirelessly to the final whistle and finished the match strongly. When they had the space to move the ball fast they showed they have the potential to score good tries. Director of Rugby Niall Lear named H. Langbridge Lacon’s Brewery Man of the Match for the way that he helped get the Vikings firing in the second half.

Did this reporter see improvement? To be honest Bury have transformed themselves since September, and now have the consistency to dominate matches for 80 minutes; and the Vikings showed that – against a team that gives the ball away from time to time – they have the ability to play some quality rugby.



North Walsham: tries – Dudley (60).

Bury St Edmunds: tries – Grigg-Pettitt (11) Bursey (15, 38) Kharbouch (29) Attfield (40+3) Bourne (51, 66); conversions – Penfold (11, 29, 38, 51, 66).


North Walsham: 15. Ross Magnus, 14. Wes McGuire, 13. Dan Smith, 12. Benji Hewitt, 11. Harry Dye; 10. Harry Langbridge, 9. Connor Dudley; 1. Callum Howe, 2. Russell Arnold, 3. Tim Weber; 4. Hudson de Lucchi, 5. Billy Tait; 6. Leo.Langbridge, 7. Jobe Brooks, 8.Charlie Fethney. Replacements: 16. Kit Brodie (for Arnold, 42 minutes), 17. Henly Brightman (Weber, 42), 18. James Baldwin (Howe, 58), 19. Tawanda Kandemwa(Dye, 47), 20. Jamie Hooker (Fethney, 54).

Bury St Edmunds: 15. Callum Hall, 14. William Affleck, 13. Harry Simpson, 12. Samir Kharbouch, 11. William Attfield; 10. Ben Penfold (may wear 22?), 9. William Christie; 1. Patrick Robinson, 2. Finley McCartney, 3. Ben Cooper; 4. George Grigg-Pettitt, 5. Tyle Russell; 6. Archie Bourne, 7. Shaquille Meyers, 8. Matthew Bursey. Replacements: 16. Tom Wand, 17. Lewis Jeffery, 18. Cameron Signorini, 19. Kodie Drury-Hawkins, 20. Michael Stanway.

Referee: Simon Waite


Seb Sutcliffe

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At North Walsham Rugby Club, our 1st XV (Vikings) are playing at National 2 level. Mini and Youth Rugby caters for Under 6s to U18s. Three Senior Men’s teams. Senior Women’s in affiliation with UEA ladies rugby. Four Girls teams Under12s, 14s, 16s and 18s.


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