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Match Report

Norwich AXV 50 Thetford 2's 10


Norwich AXV 50 Thetford 2's 10

The AXV went into this match with an entirely singular mind – they must win. To retain their great form, to bat away some major competition and to eliminate one of two other main contenders for the league title.

Intensity was apparent in the AXV camp and from kick off Thetford felt the full force of the heavy runners in red-green-and-gold such as J.Canning and N.Norris who charged up field and broke tackles. The latter having clearly had his Weetabix that morning as twice in quick succession he broke tackles and made ground.

The second of the two runs he ran clear and made it almost to the try line, falling just short but offloading well to U.Jiminez who collected off the carriers shoulder and crashed over for the first score after just two minutes of play. The kicker had a howler the previous week so put things right with a successful conversion. 7-0.

The strength of the AXV continued to dominate and within just a few minutes more they found themselves within twenty metres of the opposition posts. With the away discipline crumbling under pressure Norwich were given the chance to kick for three points. A chance duly taken as the kicker really felt the need for glory. 10-0.

Again from the restart Norwich overpowered the men ahead of them and after working their way on to Thetford five metre line, a sharp dummy from S.Walpole at nine saw him show-and-go, skipping past the breakdown and diving across under the posts, his first of the season. Norwich kindly reminded their kicker that he couldn’t possibly miss this one, so nudged as expected for the conversion. 17-0.

Norwich dominated the majority of the set pieces even from such an early point in the game as their strength and fitness clearly showed. After a successful line out led to a collection of great runs up the right hand wing, J.Canning threw a deliciously flat pass across the C.Matthews who made short work of the remaining distance and scored a debut of his own. The score was under the posts so as is only fair the kicker donned a blindfold before attempting the conversion – which was successful. 24-0.

The scores did not stop there as Norwich continued the same high tempo, aggressive play for the remainder of the half. Some powerful and agile footwork from outside centre C.McConnel, as is his trademark, saw him through a string of would-be tacklers to score under the posts. The kicker felt immensely confident at the simplicity of the kick, so took his run up backwards before slotting the ball between the sticks. 31-0.

Next up was another one for the debutants as the half came towards the end as the forwards continued their dominance at set piece and breakdowns, allowing carriers to flood through phase after phase. B.Weaver charged through and made hefty strides but was felled after a determined effort from a collection of defenders – thankfully N.Norris was on hand to gather a smart offload and charged the remaining seventy three inches to score his first try of his rugby career. Out of consideration for a first timer, the kicker nudged the conversion in spite of a tricky angle. 38-0.

At half time Norwich were confident and vowed to keep up the intensity of the first forty, and at the restart V.Valmiki echoed those words with a heroic charge across the try line from a slick line-out move. The kicker felt it only appropriate to stay humble by slicing the conversion a little wide. 43-0.

Unfortunately Norwich took their foot off the gas from this point and a great deal of the second half was spent with the AXV defending, peppered with attacks that lacked intensity. Thetford found their way through thanks to a breakaway flyer who out-paced a lazy Norwich defence. No conversion. 43-5.

At the restart it was V.Valmiki who again showed exceptional ability, chasing the kick and executing a picture-perfect, salmon-style leap to snatch the pill from the air and away from Thetford arms. Without much trouble the ball was carried through a sea of red-and-white shirts and over the line to score in a far more sympathetic position to the previous one. Well converted, 50-5.

Thetford wanted to end on a high and the change in their play was notable, the pace was stepped up and Norwich had still failed to fully focus after the high of their first half. The same Thetford flyer broke the home lines again and saw himself over for a carbon copy of his first try. Also unconverted. 50-10 at the final whistle.
An excellent showing from the AXV in the first half, but whilst mostly solid in the second the drive and aggression had slipped. Something that cannot be afforded in weeks to come.

Special mentions to the debutants this week for getting on the score sheet, in particular N.Norris who had a solid game both defensively and in attack. Clearly blossoming over the last few games, Norris was a strong contender for MOM this week and only just pipped to the post by the flourishing Sam Walpole. Playing a great game standing in at nine for two weeks in a row, Walpole kept the play structured and looked dangerous with ball-in-hand.

DOD – Mark Smith for some hurried attempt to clear his lines and instead of a successful kick he stumbled over a dense tuft of grass and the ball was shanked sideways.

Report MCW.

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