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Match Report

AXV March forward to the Norfolk Salver Final


AXV March forward to the Norfolk Salver Final

The AXV charged through to finals day after a tense battle with local rivals Wymondham.

On the occasion of their big, Back To Wymondham day, the AXV were greeted by a vast home crowd and a brilliant atmosphere in which to play.

Despite the build up to this fixture and the energy of the day, the AXV started their warm up a little flat.

Unfortunately this translated into kick off and the visitors spent the first twenty being driven back time and time again. Wymondham using their strength and weight managed to cross the line twice in this period and put Norwich thoroughly on the back foot. One conversion meant 12-0 at a quarter of the way through.

Never without flair or ability however, Norwich runners capitalised on the tireless, defiant work of their forwards. After strong drives of their own, Norwich saw themselves down field through mazy running and deft offloads through the hands of the backs. This culminated in fly-half Mike Smith finishing off after a wriggly run of his own to score just right of the posts.

A nasty bout of toe cramp caused the kicker to sling the conversion wide however, 12-5.

Wymondham felt a sting but we're in high spirits and still had the advantage. They worked hard at breakdowns where Norwich showed ill discipline and so made metres by aplenty.

The AXV penalty count was painfully high and this soon translated into a worrying scene for the visitors as red-and-black stripes crash over once again. No conversion, 17-5.

The half ended on the same score and Norwich had a lot of ground to make up.
A quick but inspirational talk from Manager-cum-hooker-cum-endless-font-of-wisdom, Mikey P served to identify the mistakes and what needed to be done in their place.

The second half started and Norwich played with renewed vigour. The words had worked and suddenly discipline was improved, albeit only slightly. The game plan began to materialise and the AXV drove upfield in aggressive but clinical forward phases before releasing the backs who linked well and began to run the hosts around the park.

D.Johnson was the first to punctuate this renewed effort, scoring well on his return from injury after a string of smart passes down through the backs he ran in a final twenty metres to score just in from the corner. The kicker had foam-rollered out the lactic acid and slotted the extra two from the wide angle. 17-12.

A well taken restart meant Norwich could pressure the hosts once again and after a series to wing to wing phases the Norwich 12 MCW threw an audacious dummy and cut a line through the defence, stepped a chaser and then caused severe ankle damage to the covering full back. He crossed the line under the posts and converted his own.17-19.

Things still didn't go all Norwich's way however as their discipline still left much to be desired and Wymondham put up a might challenge to the last. Defence however, became another excellent point of improvement with heavy hitters like J.Canning, M.Walton and A.Ogle cutting down attackers by the dozen.

Norwich managed to stretch their legs as the game entered the final quarter, fitness being a key asset for the visitors. Pressure was applied in abundance and the hosts began to make mistakes. One such being a handling error that Norwich 13 C.Matthews was quick to pounce upon, kicking the loose ball, chasing and then gathering with a cool finesse before breezing in over the last few metres to score under the posts.
Lemon squeezey, so the kicker reckoned and so slotted the extra two. 17-26.

The last ten followed a similar vein and aside from a clumsy few fumbles and the odd issue of being off feet at the ruck, Norwich had tidied their play and ended the final moments with a dazzling final run from returnee D.Johnson who took a slick pass from fullback M.Reeve before gliding in for his second.
Nicely struck, though the kicker does say so himself, 17-33 at the final whistle.

A brilliant battle and a resounding display of resilience that saw the AXV fight back from a hefty deficit.

Improvements to be made but the final awaits and the AXV played incredibly well to get there.

MOM- Votes for the likes of J.Canning and A.Ogle who both had Excellent games, C.Matthews a close second for the award this week but the plaudits were clinched by a deserving Dean Johnson, who returns to fitness in brilliant form.

DOD - to MCW for having an otherwise dead cert of a try held up on the line and for two outrageous forward passes, both of which would likely have resulted in tries.


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