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Match Report

Norwich 68 Holt 3’s 5


Norwich 68 Holt 3’s 5

The AXV continue winning ways in magnificent form as they host derby-rivals Holt 3’s.
For the hosts, it was as though the Sword of Damocles hung overhead going into this game with Norwich facing their first challenge for top of the table. This was posed no less, by opponents that had administered a comprehensive thumping on their last visit. Complacency again a dominant topic in pre-game chat, Norwich stepped on to the pitch determined to prove a point.

At the first whistle, receiving the kick didn’t go so well for the hosts, a tough positioning of the sun meant that the ball was dropped and Holt began with a scrum. Normally a prospect the Norwich forwards relish, however all credit to the men in black as they proved a match for the AXV’s normally dominant shove. Proving their strength in depth though, the host’s rallied as the ball was distributed and the Norwich backs got up in the faces of their opposite men in short order. Too much pressure led to forced errors and the AXV stole possession.

AXV v Holt 2.jpg 

The home side began with their basics, the ever-clinical scrum half, R.Bracewell administering his dose of control and patience in distribution exactly as the Doctor ordered. With ball distributed methodically to forward after forward, metres were gained and Norwich crashed into the visiting twenty-two with ease before B.Weaver took the ball from deep and sauntered through a few defenders before being brought down over the line for a try. The kicker painfully aware of the crowd of spectators, stepped up and converted. 7-0.

 As with previous weeks, Norwich capitalised on their momentum and an improved take at the restart meant the men in red could hit back quickly. A few more forward balls to gain ground before the ball was released to the backs and legs were allowed to be stretched. The magic for Norwich today was their support play and it showed several times throughout. Several hard lines ran and clever offloads meant C.McConnel got the second for Norwich. The kicker fancied this one too as it was only a metre right of the posts. 14-0.

AXV v Holt 3 .jpg 

For one of the first times in their season the AXV executed a practice-perfect game plan for each of the next few tries. The abundant nature of the Norwich forwards meant strong carries and broken tackles before the backs got their moment and some clinical passes allowed D.Johnson to be released down the wing to score his debut try for Norwich after a great show of pace. The kicker was a big fan of his 7 Times Table as a child so kept form and slotted the additional two. 21-0.

C.McConnel again showed his considerable ability with a great support line and impressive agility, skipping through defenders after a series of great running from his fellow backs. He put down beneath the posts and the kicker rewarded such considerate behaviour by nudging the extras. 28-0.

AXV v Holt 4.jpg 

Soon the tempestuous hard work from the forwards began to pay dividends on the score sheet as A.Ogle bashed his way through the defensive line, a few scramble defenders clinging on. However with the ball carrier famously difficult to halt once up to speed, he landed over the whitewash to add five points. The kicker felt he ought to give the critics something to say, so instead of converting he nudged the ball onto the right post, totally deliberately. 33-0.

In the last knockings of the final half, Holt flyers broke free and thanks to some remarkable scramble defence from the home side the attack fell just short of the line. Not finished however, Holt recycled and attacked the blindside. Norwich reacted well and kept the visitors out at each phase. Finally, five metres out and with Holt deciding to play open as the time went into the red, Norwich kept their shining form in D and pressured the visitors into a mistake. Whistle blown, half time.

AXV v Holt 5.jpg 

The second half started in similar fashion with Norwich dominating the majority of the play, forwards near impossible to bring down and the backs running clever lines to cause all sorts of issues in open play. J.G-Williams found his way through to score under the posts after running an excellent support line. The excitement obviously too much, he soon after had to be subbed off due to ‘poor lungs’. Kicker had the conversion bonus clause in his contract in mind as he sent the ball between the sticks. 40-0.

The next four tries followed the same patient and clever formula the AXV have become known for; push and push and release out to the flyers…like J.Hynd who charged up field in support of a fly-half ‘Gone Rambo’ and gathered the offload to score his first. Then C.McConnel completed his hattrick via a stunning display of footwork to outfox the defenders before scoring under the posts. There followed J.Hynd not once but twice more to score his own hat-trick through the clever application of his ample frame as he broke tackle after tackle before applying downward pressure. The kicker had thoroughly enjoyed the cheers of celebration after his previous successful conversions and so saw fit to add the extras on all four of the AXV’s final tries. Including two from a ridiculous angle, the prospect of which caused great despair. However, composure was kept; 68-0.

AXV v Holt 6.jpg

A potential future Specsavers ad as M. Cole-Wilkin struggles to see the posts that he is supposed to aim at

No discredit to Holt, at any point throughout, they were a physical side and stuck at the game well, showing what they’re capable of at the end by outplaying the Norwich backs in a game of width. The hosts failed to react and drift and so conceded in the corner. Unconverted, 68-5 as the final whistle blew.

Difficult not to wax lyrical on this game, the performance from the AXV was a huge step up from what was already brilliant form. Defensive was strong and steadfast right until the last, the press was up quick at every phase and first tackles were consistently made. Attack was unmatchable, strong running coupled with relentless support meant the Host’s clinically executed their final-phases with precision that had been lacking at the start of the season.
MOM: J Hynd for, as ever, an exceptional work rate as well as his hat-trick.
Special mention to C.McConnel who was a strong contender for MOM for exactly the same reasons, but should probably get DOD; for the yellow card in the last five minutes…

Report M.Cole-Wilkin. 

Editorial note:

Di popped over for 5 minutes at half time in the 1st XV game to take a couple of photos. It seems that most of them featured M. Cole-Wilkin. Three possibilities spring to mind:

1. Hero worship (unlikely)

2. Direct instructions from Captain M. Cole-Wilkin to only photograph him (Possible)

3. A reluctance on the part of M. Cole-Wilkin to pass anyone the ball (Bookies favourite)

We are hoping to get some photos from Jake Marshall (who was also taking photos) to add a bit of variety in due course

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