Match Report – Vikings Vs. Bury St Edmunds – 9th September, 2023

09/10/20230

NATIONAL 2 EAST

Saturday 9 September 2023, Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds 50, North Walsham Vikings 17

Bury’s five-try purple patch too much for Vikings

Bury’s streetwise team overturned a young, brave and well-organised North Walsham side by scoring eight tries, most of them in a short period of time before half time.

It was an incredibly hot day in Bury, the full sun baking an already dry and hard turf. The referee Jack Sutton wisely implemented informal drinks breaks, but both teams of players gave it their all despite the heat.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Vikings – fielding debutants Harry Langridge and Hudson de Lucchi in the starting 15 – got the better of the early exchanges. It took Bury five minutes to get into the Walsham half, and when they did they thought they had scored in the corner through Affleck, only for the play to be pulled back for a forward pass.

Scrum half Connor Dudley was accelerating play whenever possible, and the Vikings seemed to be out-thinking their more experienced opposition. Then on 21 minutes captain Dan Smith intercepted a pass on the half-way line, surged into Bury territory and gifted a pass to Harry Dye to open the scoring; H. Langbridge hitting the post with his conversion. 0-5

Bury didn’t need a second warning, pulling level three minutes later with a winger’s try in the corner for Affleck. Despite the courage that the young Vikings side displayed at times during the afternoon, this set-back seemed to destroy their confidence and the floodgates opened. Bury’s No.8 Porteous caught the restart kick, crossed the half-way line, offloaded to scrum half Christie, and they were ahead. 10-5

The rest of the half belonged to Bury: Simpson scored tries on 30 and 40 minutes, Porteous scored on 35 and the half-time whistle went with Bury in complete control of a match they had been losing barely 15 minutes earlier. Half-time: 31-5

The second half didn’t start any better for the Vikings. The restart kick barely travelled a metre forward, Bury won the resulting centre-spot scrum, smashed through the middle and scored through substitute Bourne. Three minutes later Bury were over again, but luckily for Walsham there had been a forward pass in the build-up. 36-5

After the way the match had been turned around, it was rather surprising that the Vikings scored next. A tapped penalty 15m from the Bury line was kicked sideways to the waiting hands of Dye, who must have particularly enjoyed scoring as he had spent the previous ten minutes in the sin bin! 36-10

North Walsham started to play again, pressing the Bury defence time and again, especially when they lost try-scorer Bourne to the sin bin themselves. When the Vikings’ third try came it was no surprise, although the manner of the score was! Substitute debutant Leo Langridge went on an amazing run through the middle, two kicks – one of them blocked – and the ball reappeared in his hands. Stunned like the crowd, he still had the awareness to find Harry Steward who nipped through to score between the posts and smash a conversion for good measure! 36-17

Bury are a robust opponent and didn’t want the Vikings to get their bonus point fourth try. Twice the home side had the ball over the line, but both times Viking defenders prevented the ball being grounded. On 72 minutes however, the Bury forwards demolished a scrum and got the ball over through Jeffery. The Vikings continued to have good spells of pressure, but the Bury defense held, until it was Bury themselves who finished the scoring in overtime, Grigg-Pettitt with the final try, Simpson with his fifth successful conversion. Full-time: 50-17

The young Vikings team performed very well for long periods, but Bury’s purple patch and an ability to score a high percentage of their chances saw the home side safely through. Five debuts – Alexander Hutton and Wes McQuire also played their first games from the bench – shows you how the team is very much a work in progress. Director of Rugby Niall Lear named Dudley Lacon’s Brewery Man of the Match for his performance at No.9 and later No.10. He also singled out Smith, playing his 101st match, for praise.

Scorers:

Bury: tries – Affleck, Christie, Simpson (2), Porteous, Bourne, Jeffery, Grigg-Pettitt; conversions – Simpson (5).

Vikings: tries – Dye (2), Harry Steward (1); conversion – Steward.

Teams:

Vikings: 15. Benji Hewitt; 14. Harry Dye, 13. Dan Smith ( c ), 12. Ross Magnus, 11. Harry Steward; 10. Harry Langbridge, 9. Connor Dudley; 1. Callum Howe, 2. Russell Arnold, 3. Mark McCall; 4. Hudson de Lucchi, 5. Ethan Holmwood; 6. Billy Tait, 7. Jobe Brooks, 8. Charlie Fethney.

Replacements: 16. Alexander Hutton (for Howe, 65 minutes); 17. Ehret Kurt (McCall, 17); 18. Alfie Coop (Magnus, 43); 19. Leo Langridge (de Lucchi, 43); 20. Wes McQuire (Hewitt, half-time).

From: Seb Sutcliffe

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