Luton vanquish Vikings to claim first league win of the season

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London One North: Luton 39 (11) North Walsham Vikings 15 (8)

Dave Brennan scored three tries as Luton recorded their first London One North victory of the season with a 39-15 success over North Walsham at Newlands Road on Saturday, writes Adam Busfield.

Luton bounced back impressively from last week’s close encounter as they ran in four second half tries to secure the much-needed bonus-point victory.

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Both teams started the game strongly and both got on the scoreboard in the first 10 minutes when successful penalties from Rik Hobbs and Henry Dewing tied the scores at 3-3.

The visitors then took the lead on 13 minutes when a driving maul from an attacking lineout allowed Mike Rouse to touch down for an unconverted try.

North Walsham proceeded to take control of the game and their precise kicking game kept Luton trapped deep inside their own half.

And the visitors had the chance to further their lead on 24 minutes, but Dewing missed a simple penalty from in front of the uprights.

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The hosts got themselves back into the game with another successful penalty from Rik Hobbs after centre Steve Ellis broke 30m downfield and North Walsham were caught offside.

And Luton took the lead seconds later when the impressive Michael Weston gathered the restart and burst through three defenders to race 40m before being brought down.

Some quick hands on the next play then created the overlap for Dave Brennan to place down for an unconverted try as Luton led 11-8.

The momentum had totally swung Luton’s way and the hosts started to break the Vikings’ defence on a regular basis as Weston’s power seemed too much for the visitors’ tiring defence.

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And Luton almost extened their lead when Brennan coasted down the wing, but lost control of the ball in the tackle five metres from the try-line.

Head Coach Paul Allen will have been happy with his side’s first half performance as the hosts finished the period in complete control.

However, everything was still to play for in the second half as Luton held a slim 11-8 lead at the break.

Luton got off the second half off to a dream start as Ellis broke 60m down the right, before drawing the full-back in to feed Brennan who raced under the post to score his second try of the match, with Rik Hobbs converting.

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The hosts assumed full control of the game and kept the scoreboard ticking.

A set move from a scrum allowed full-back Doug Fluker to coast through as he stepped past the opposition full-back to score under the sticks on 51 minutes as Jake Hobbs converted to make it 25-8 Luton.

Will Hodgson gave the visitors some hope of getting something out of the game when numerous strong drives just before the hour created room for the centre to score a converted try.

But their hopes were short-lived as Fluker grabbed his second try three minutes later with an identical try to his first, as the same set move from a scrum allowed him to coast through before again stepping past the full-back to place down for a try converted by Jake Hobbs.

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And Luton finally put the game to bed in the 69th minute when great work from Weston created room for Brennan to race 50m and place down under the posts to complete his hat-trick as another Rik Hobbs conversion secured the 39-15 victory.

This Saturday Luton head to Colchester.

Luton: Daniel Blinkhorn, David Irvine (Sam Pacey 45), Jake Elborn, Pat Nelly (C), Tom Albone, Ryan Staff, Kevin Scales (Matt Yang 60), Michael Weston, Tom Mahendren, Rick Hobbs (Tom Wilmore 43), Will Affleck, Steve Ellis, Jake Hobbs, Dave Brennan, Doug Fluker. T: Dave Brennan 3, Doug Fluker 2. C: R Hobbs 2, J Hobbs 2. P: R Hobbs 2.

North Walsham: Stuart Loose, Dan Goodrich (Mark McCall 46), Ben Campbell (Tom Williams 34), Tom Coller (Callum Cashman 46), Chris Kent (C), Mike Rouse, Chris Godwin, Matt Oakes, Henry Dewing, Rhys Davis-Horne, Chad Seeley, Will Hodgson, James Knight, Jake Colman, Shane Van Vurren. T: Rouse, Hodgson. C: Dewing. P: Dewing.

Referee: Tim Simmons.

Touch Judges: Ken Alden and Richard Hewitt.

Star Luton Man: Micheal Weston. His strength in attack created havoc and was instrumental in Luton’s last try.

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