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Match Report

Ipswich 3 22 Norwich AXV 31


Ipswich 3 22 Norwich AXV 31

Norwich 3s travelled to Ipswich this week for a match against a team that most in the squad had never played. With this week being the first back after Christmas the game was likely to be not just a new experience, but one the players would relish.

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The home side kicked off and the ball sailed straight to B. Weaver and landed straight in his basket. A strong charge into the defensive wall began the classic push-and-shove tactics the AXV do so well. A few phases later and it became clear that Ipswich were being well tested as gaps opened up and a brief series of good offloads saw the ball into the hands of fly-half M.Smith. Smith then showed a great burst of pace and ran in for an early score and opened up his own account at Norwich. It was the man’s debut try so the kicker felt it would be polite to convert. Successfully done, 0-7

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Ipswich were not a team to be slighted without return and some strong play after the restart saw a turnover into home possession before they used great pace down the wing and scored in the corner. A tricky kick, unconverted, 5-7.

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Norwich, unperturbed by the lapse, hit straight back. This time after a few moments of physicality the AXV found their way up field and after a great platform set by the fearsome forwards the ball was distributed skilfully down the back line...into the hands of the fullback who stepped inside and got wrapped up by Ipswich arms but managed a fortunate offload to U.Jiminez out wide who saw himself across the try line. Selfishly far from the posts, the kicker didn’t manage that one. 5-12.

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Thanks to the huge power of the AXV, including the likes of a (returned from 2 months injury) P.Micklethwaite, the away side drove well in attack, showcasing a brilliant strength and great support. The aforementioned setting off on a fifteen metre jaunt, breaking tackles and gaining ground only to fall just two metres short. With fullback MCW in support the well-presented ball was scooped up and a determined charge saw MCW crash over the whitewash for the AXV’s third. Refusing to miss his own, the kicker nudged well and added the extra. 5-19.

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With just a few minutes of the half left, Ipswich had no answer to the visiting attack. First defenders did a clinical job and even second men put in admirable effort but the support of the AXV was unmatchable. One such example being a herculean charge from the robust J.Hynd who made remarkable ground before being downed. A slick offload to D.Hambidge who threw a smartly weighted pass to B.Weaver who made hard ground before being gathered himself. The ball was recycled into the mitts of P.Micklethwaite who scored a ways left of the sticks.

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The four noted showing excellent prowess in open play and frankly, putting the backs to shame with their champagne rugby. The kicker too fatigued from keeping pace with the newly-energised pack, failed to convert. 5-24.
Whistle blown, Norwich ended the half in high spirits.

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After the break Norwich were determined to keep their impetus and B.Weaver took the first charge with a strong carry, beating defenders and presenting well once finally tackled. This strong effort meant Norwich could capitalise and make ground, once again threatening the home defence. Rumours circulated suggesting Weaver had effected a successful side-step out of the arms of a defender during this run. No witnesses could be found, though an Ipswich player did mutter complaints of a broken ankle…

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Shortly into the second half Norwich pressed well and found themselves on the opponents five metre line. Things did not go to plan and the home side earned a scrum on the five, giving them a chance to clear. Norwich asserted their forward dominance at this point and turned the scrum against the head, driving forward until they crossed the line for P.Micklethwaite to pick up and score off the back of the set-piece. Whilst apparently no Norwich eyes saw the conversion, not even the kicker, apparently the ref did. 5-31.

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Norwich were flying high at this point but unfortunately allowed complacency to settle in. Ipswich showed that beating them would be no mean feat and battled back into contention. Over the course of the next half an hour the home side ran in three tries, one converted.

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With enough time left Norwich felt a real threat and worried for the end result. A lack of effort and a failure to react meant Ipswich nearly worked their way back into the match and refused Norwich the chance to score again. However, the away side gathered and put in a brave showing to stem the new flow of aggression and see out the game for the win.

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MOM – A close call this week with Darren Crittenden nearly gaining the award for a brilliant defensive shift and fast reactions in open play to set up brilliant attacks. However he was just pipped to the post by Ben Weaver who showed unmatchable power in attack and gained hard yards throughout the match with a massive work rate.
DOD – MCW for an appalling effort during a kick to touch. Perhaps the easiest task of the day, just ten metres from the try line, an easy score assuming the line-out went well – the kick went not over the touch line, but the dead ball line instead.

Report by MCW

Editors note: Whilst a variety of scores were floated, Mikey P saying the ref made it 22:31, there is no doubt that Norwich won the game.

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