Match Report – Vikings Vs. Dorking – 16th September, 2023

09/17/20230
North Walsham Vikings 14 Dorking 59

The Vikings challenging start to the season continued with this defeat by an experienced and powerful Dorking side, widely regarded as promotion favourites. They laid out their stall with three tries in the first eight minutes and by halftime it was 7 – 45, before the hosts rallied with an improved second half performance.

On a dry warm day made for running rugby the visitors did just that from the very start, the League’s leading try scorer last season, Toby McRae, racing over in the third minute. Henry Anscombe, the League’s leading points scorer last season, converted. Three minutes later Finn Osborne scored under the posts, then almost straight from the kick off Tom Howe got the first of his three tries and, with the former converted, it was 0 -19. All the tries had been initiated from deep, the Vikings missing their first up tackles and struggling to cope with Dorking’s pace and running angles.

The hosts briefly came into it a bit more, working themselves into some promising positions. They were penalised though for holding on and, when they tried to make ground through driving mauls, were held up meaning the scrum put in went to Dorking. Both these patterns of play were to be repeated throughout the match: like all quality sides Dorking had a solid defence.

After a ten minute lull, the visitors scored twice in the space of five minutes through Will Scholes and Howe, Anscombe converting both. Then suddenly, on the half hour, the Vikings got on the scoreboard with a well worked try. They won a Dorking scrum 40 metres out and moved the ball incisively down the blindside for left winger Wes McGuire to score from 20 metres despite heavy traffic; Ross Magnus converted from the touchline. Within two minutes, however, Howe got his third and with the last play of the half Tom Watson crossed for a converted try.

The Vikings emerged for the second half clearly determined to give a better account of themselves. For the first ten minutes they surged forward, retaining possession well and getting quick breakdown ball, pinning Dorking in their 22. The visitors looked to have survived the storm before McGuire, who is proving to be a deadly finisher, leapt through the air for his second, Magnus again converting from out wide. Unfortunately, McQuire was injured as he scored and had to leave the field.

The Vikings sniffed the bonus point for scoring four tries, but were quickly knocked back by another converted try, this time from Jonny Ellis. Thereafter, with Lacons Brewery Man of the Match Leo Langbridge in the vanguard, they had their moments offensively but never built any consistent pressure. As the game entered the final quarter Jasper King got Dorking’s ninth try, Anscombe completing the scoring with his seventh conversion.

With the penalty count against the Vikings mounting and their scrum, which had hitherto held up well, beginning to creak, Dorking controlled possession and territory for much of the rest of the match. Nevertheless, a well organised home defence meant they were unable to turn that pressure into further points.

Niall Lear was comparatively sanguine afterwards, “Dorking are a quality side, possibly the best in the League. We were poor in the first half, a lot better in the

second both offensively and defensively, but little lapses kept us away from the chance of a bonus point.” Next week the Vikings travel to Henley, victors this weekend home to Bury.

Team:

15. Benji Hewitt 14. Harry Dye 13. Dan Smith 12. Ross Magnus
11.Wes McGuire 10. Harry Langbridge 9. Connor Dudley 1. Callum Howe 2. Russell Arnold 3. Tim Weber 4. Billy Tait 5. Ethan Holmwood 6. Leo Langbridge 7. Jobe Brooks 8. Charlie Fethney

Interchanges:

Callum Coyne/ Howe (30 mins)
Henly Brightman/ Weber (30 mins)
Hudson de Lucchi/ Holmwood (43 mins)
Alfie Coop/McQuire (47 mins)
Holmwood/Brooks (55 mins)
Mark McCall/Arnold (62 mins)
Weber/ Brightman (62 mins)
Howe/Coyne (73 mins)

Scorers:

Tries: McGuire (2)
Conversions: Magnus (2)

Penalties:

Yellow Cards: Holmwood
Red Cards:

Referee:

Conor Boyle

Written by:

Paul Morse

170923

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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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