Vikings Match Preview v Henley Hawks (H) – 02/03/24

02/29/20240
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North Walsham Vikings have another tough home fixture this Saturday, fifth placed Henley visiting for a match postponed from January. Whilst never looking like promotion contenders, Henley have been in the top half of the league all season winning 12 from 19, five on the road. Since the turn of the year they’ve lost half their matches, including a narrow home defeat to leaders Esher; last weekend they won at Wimbledon 22 – 32.  Niall Lear describes them as “well drilled, capable of beating any team in this league. Like all quality sides they can win even when not at their best.” Fly half Max Titchener – “best in the League” – is adept at controlling matches and an unerringly accurate kicker from hand and tee: he’s the league’s seventh highest points scorer with 140, all kicks, though he hasn’t played the last two. Hookers Istok Totic and Tom Emery have 19 tries between them, so the catch and drive looks a potent weapon. Will Benning, part of a heavyweight back row, has eight, whilst full back Toby Evans is leading backs try scorer with seven.

Niall was disappointed with the performance against Tonbridge last week, when for the second game in a row they conceded three early tries. “We need to play for the full 80 minutes, not just the second half.” His squad is likely to see the return of John Clarke, Hudson de Lucchi and Wes McQuire, though Alfie Coop is an injury doubt.

The September fixture ended 41 – 14, Henley taking the match away from their visitors with three tries in fifteen minutes straight after half time. Vikings’ try scorers were Ethan Holmwood and Tawanda Kandenwa. It was one apiece in 2022 – 23, the Vikings winning the Scottow encounter in September 29 – 23, their first victory of the season, but the Oxfordshire side victorious 42 – 40 in a 12 try thriller at Henley in March which included tries for Holmwood and Dan Smith.

Meanwhile the Raiders, battling to avoid relegation, have an important fixture home with Ipswich YM. That kicks off at 2.30, 30 minutes ahead of the Vikings.

 

Paul Morse

290224

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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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