Luton RFC's clash with Vikings abandoned due to mass brawl
Luton's London One North clash against North Walsham Vikings at Newlands Road was abandoned at the weekend after a mass brawl in the closing stages.
With time running out, and Luton trailing 12-7, the visitors sent a penalty againstthe upright, and from the rebound Luton’s Charlie Bennett was the victim of another high tackle.
This led to a huge brawl under the posts, forcing the referee to abandon the game with Walsham claiming the win.
Luton assistant manager Steve Evans said: “I think it was lack of discipline of equal measures on both sides.
“I think the referee didn’t have a great game as he struggled to control it.
“A lot of the decisions he was making were causing frustration amongst the players, which is what resulted in what looked like a big mess at the end.”
Earlier, Luton started brightly as Rick Hobbs dummied a pass and made a dash for the line but his pass to Tyler Chant was intercepted.
Both teams were guilty of turning possession over as soon as they got into the opposition 22.
Alex Dola-Lami caused the away side problems but it was not enough to make a difference to the score.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 22nd minute, when Thomas Mahendran made a great break from a tap penalty.
Adam Harris carried the ball deep into the Walsham 22 before setting up Christopher Davies who powered through the defence to score, Hobbs adding the extras to make it 7-0.
However, North Walsham then began to up the tempo and push into Luton’s 22.
With half-time approaching, the hosts’ hopes of going in seven points to the good disappeared when Will Hodgson barged his way through to score, with Matt Hodgson converting to make it 7-7.
The second half saw a succession of refereeing decisions frustrate both sides as tempers began to flare.
Both sides were reduced to 14 men when Mahendran and Vikings prop Ali Downing were sent to the sin bin after an altercation following a dangerous tackle.
With both teams a player down, the game should have opened up, however, it turned into a match of successive line-outs until both players were allowed back onto the pitch.
In the 76th minute, the Vikings got over again, this time through Chris Kent as they moved 12-7 in front.
This knocked Luton’s confidence and when Jake Duffield’s penalty hit the posts, the resulting fracas led to an early conclusion.
On the performance, Evans added: “In comparison to the last few weeks, I don’t think we’ve been as strong as we have been.
“That being said, I think we flattered North Walsham and I don’t think they were the team we played in the reverse fixture, so we could’ve walked away with a win which is really disappointing.
“It was a fairly balanced team on both sides, but I think we were the stronger in regards to the state of play and the technique showed.
“It was our lack of discipline and maybe some lack of being able to stay quiet that cost us the game.”
Luton are without a game this weekend.