Match Report – Vikings Vs Wimbledon 6.4.24

04/08/20240

North Walsham Vikings 7 Wimbledon 57

The scoreline tells the tale, a resounding defeat for the Vikings in the final home game of the season. Nevertheless, their inexperienced side, even by this season’s standards – six of the normal starting XV were unavailable and six debutants were included – fought hard throughout and it wasn’t until the final quarter that Wimbledon took full control, scoring 33 unanswered points as they sought to increase their points difference and ease their relegation worries.

As the teams lined up the size disparity between the forwards was very evident, the Vikings shorter and many kilos per man lighter, and when the visitors dominated the first scrum it looked as if winning set piece ball would be a problem. Those fears, however, weren’t realised, the hosts holding their own at scrum time and Charlie Fethney, debutant Finlay Hughes and Hudson de Lucchi winning their share of the lineouts. Wimbledon though recycled faster, won more turnover ball and were generally more incisive, their backs putting together some neat moves especially in the latter stages.

Wimbledon took the lead in the sixth minute Oliver Kitto weaving his way over from 25 metres; Ed Morgan made the first of his six conversions.

Three minutes later it was all square: the Vikings’ forwards pounced on a Wimbledon fumble 40 metres out, quick recycle, then a great pass from Harry Steward put Dan Smith through; Lucas Atherton converted.

Dropped passes were a feature of the early stages of the game but Wimbledon had no such problems five minutes later when Tomaz Pozniak got the first of his four tries, the winger rounding off a well-constructed backs move.

Wimbledon were taking control but the hosts showed their defensive qualities, thwarting some driving mauls and the fearless Connor Dudley tackling a forward twice his size as he reached in vain for the line. Pressure eventually told though, and after 25 minutes a converted try for Alex Kerr extended the lead.

The Vikings then enjoyed their best period in the match, prefaced by Lacons Brewery Man of the Match Jobe Brooks, who as ever tackled relentlessly throughout, being tap tackled as he burst through on halfway. They finished the half camped in Wimbledon’s 22 but despite three five metre lineouts in as many minutes couldn’t get across the line. The 7 – 19 halftime score seemed fair.

Any hopes of a comeback after the break were soon dashed, Pozniak getting his second after a minute, the Vikings failing initially to clear their line. The next 20 minutes was fairly scrappy, the Vikings hanging on tenaciously, Atherton producing some long relieving line kicks, Henly Brightman and Fethney making ground with some barnstorming runs and the backs occasionally looking as if they might create something: a move involving Atherton, Benji Hewitt and Tawanda Kandemwa looked particularly promising, but Wimbledon closed it down.

Gradually, with the Vikings visibly tiring and their inexperienced bench having to be exposed, the visitors regained control and with the game entering the final quarter prop Tom Boot trundled over for a converted try. Suddenly it was all Wimbledon, their impressive fly half Morgan controlling play. The Vikings kept putting in the tackles, two from skipper Smith were particularly memorable, but they just couldn’t stem the flow and four tries, three converted, came in the final 15 minutes, all scored by backs: Oliver Thomas, Morgan and two more for Pozniak.

“This was always going to be tough, given the number of players we had unavailable and the importance of the match to Wimbledon,” commented Niall Lear. “They fully deserved their win, though we should have played better.” Next week the Vikings travel to St. Albans to play Old Albanian in their season’s penultimate fixture.

 

Team: 15. Harry Steward 14. Wes McGuire 13. Dan Smith 12. Benji Hewitt

  1. Tawanda Kandemwa 10. Lucas Atherton 9. Connor Dudley 1. Tim Weber 2. Mark McCall 3. Henly Brightman 4. Hudson de Lucchi 5. Finlay Hughes 6. Jobe Brooks 7. Sam Garwood 8. Charlie Fethney

Interchanges:

Callum Howe/ Weber (54 mins)

Henry Green/ McCall (54 mins)

Tom Coker/ Smith (62 mins)

Rory Hobbs/ McGuire (62 mins)

Alastair Baggiony – Taylor/ Garwood (67 mins)

Scorers:

      Tries: Smith

Conversions: Atherton

Penalties:

Yellow Cards:

Red Cards:

Referee: Simon Waite

 

Paul Morse

070424

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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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