Luton Rugby fall short at North Walsham

Luton lost another close London One North encounter as they were defeated 21-18 at North Walsham on Saturday, writes Adam Busfield.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 6th January 2014, 1:55 pm
Rugby Union
Rugby Union

The hosts had the better of the opening 20 minutes as Luton looked sluggish in attack and defence.

Vikings created the first chance to open the scoring in the fifth minute when a crossfield kick was knocked on by Cutu Serruys after Luton’s defence struggled to get back in shape from losing the ball deep inside their own 22.

It didn’t take long for the hosts to get on the board when David Treglown added a penalty in the seventh minute after they won a scrum against the feed in Luton’s 22 which resulted in the visitors being caught offside under the posts.

The hosts were in complete control of the game as Treglown added another penalty on 14th minutes to extend the Vikings lead to 6-0.

Luton continued to look very lethargic and were made to pay in the 17th minute as they lost the ball in the tackle as hosts’ full back James Knight raced 60 metres to score in the corner.

After a couple of line breaks from centre Steve Ellis, Luton finally started to get in the game but were unable to get on the scoreboard.

It looked like Walsham were going to take the 13-0 lead into the interval, but Luton finally got on the scoreboard with the last play of the half, through Jack Elston who barged his way over after a period of sustained pressure.

Rik Hobbs added the extras to make it 13-7.

Luton got the second half off to a great start when with just under a minute played, Michael Weston received the ball 40 metres out only to break through the initial defensive line before holding off the full back and winger to touch down in the corner.

The hosts responded well and extended their lead four minutes later they managed to rip the ball in a tackle and spread the ball out wide into the open space for Tom Williams to dive over for an unconverted try, making it 18-12.

The game was nicely poised going into the final quarter after Rik Hobbs added two penalties to tie the game at 18-18.

Both teams continued to threaten but it was North Walsham who re-took the lead after a break down centre field resulted with a penalty in front of the sticks and fly half, Treglown gratefully made it 21-18 with just over 10 minutes to play.

Luton looked to respond and were pinned inside the Vikings half for the remaining 10 minutes, although turned down a chance to level the game with a penalty in front of the sticks to go for the win but they were unable to cross with Adam Harris being held up over the line with the last play.

North Walsham Vikings: Stuart Loose, Mark McCall, Aki Downing (Henry Dewing 57), Chris Kent, Tom Coller, Matt Oakes, Chris Goodwin, Tom Williams, Dean Blyth, David Treglown, Shane Van Vuuren, Will Hodgson, Rhys Davis-Horne (Mike Rouse 67), Cutu Serruys, James Knight (Tom Browes 40).

T: Knight, Williams. C: Treglown. P: Treglown 3.

Luton: Sam Pacey, Ryan Shepperd, Jack Elborn (Dwayne Duffy 56), Pat Nelly, Tom Albone, Michael Weston (Adam Harris 52), Ryan Staff, Jack Elson, Tom Mahendren, Rik Hobbs, Doug Fluker, Steve Ellis, Jake Hobbs, Chris Davis (Brandon Lewsey 63), Tom Wilmore.`

T: Elston, Weston. C: R Hobbs. P: R Hobbs 2.

Referee: Nick Matenga

Luton Star Man: Michael Weston. His strength caused problems for the Vikings defence all game and scored a superb individual try.