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Match Report

Clacton 2's 19 Norwich AXV 34


Clacton 2's 19 Norwich AXV 34

The AXV conquer new territories in a thrilling visit to Clacton-On-Sea.

By far the hottest day of the year and The AXV made the hefty journey to the Essex coast to engage in friendly aggression with an unknown quantity in Clacton. A much needed warm up game ahead of the cup final and a perfect way to establish inter-county relations.

From kick off, Norwich received well via the watertight arms of V.Valmiki who charged headlong into enemy lines and carried well and needed several defenders to bring him to heel. The first ten minutes was a tight battle with similar strong carries from the AXV forwards who set a platform to enable their backs time and space in which to run.

The away side gained yards, several at a time through the clever running of C.McConnel and C.Matthews in the back line. A slick move in the centre released MCW from 12 to outfox defenders, stretch his legs for a few metres then side-stepped the opposing full back to score under the posts.
Despite barely having the lung capacity to breathe after that run, the kicker managed to convert his own. 0-7.

Soon after, the Norwich backs produced another fantastic series of passes, drawing defenders well before making clinical offloads. The ball found its way down the line through textbook 'hands' and into the grasp of D.Johnson who took a grand total of three strides from halfway to the try-line to score a little way infield.
Unfortunately a task too taxing for the kicker, no conversion. 0-12.

Clacton replied with a great break down the blindside of a scrum, ten metres out. The Norwich defence failed to react and punishment swiftly followed. Unconverted, 5-12.

The Norwich kicker then pre-empted his Sunday Lamb with a shank from the restart. Instead of lofting the ball high and left for his forwards to chase, he sent it short and down the middle of the pitch to chase on his own. Thankfully with the help of two comrades the ball was won back after a quick moment of defensive pressure.

This led to a scrum to Norwich and the ball was shipped swiftly out to C.McConnell who saw himself over the line with ease. Hardly two minutes had passed since the AXV conceded and they responded with perfect aplomb. The kicker however, did not. 5-17.

Play became far more competitive for the remaining ten minutes of the first half - Norwich were tested in terms of their defence with Clacton using powerful carries to make ground.

No joy, for the home side however as the AXV held firm and countered in the final few moments. C.McConnell again showing fantastic ability with speed and footwork to execute a strikingly similar score to his first. The kicker felt he may as well stay consistent... 5-22 at half time.

The second half started and Clacton came out firing - their powerful carriers and some newly energised runners made life difficult for the visitors who were caught napping a few times. Effort in attack however, had not gone astray as Norwich shoved their way upfield and the agile, yet bulky frame of V.Valmiki crashed though to score. The kicker was suffering the positively equatorial conditions and allowed the heat to distract him. 5-27.

The hosts then scored and Norwich realised their job was far from over as the extras were kicked through. 12-27.

Despite a few issues in 'D' Norwich showed excellent ability across the pitch. Yet another backs move tracked from wing to wing with clever passes and vigilant support. M.Smith managed to execute an utterly audacious, behind-the-back, no-look pass to the grateful hands of W.Wise who made ground before returning the ball to Smith. Having had the ball delivered on a silver platter with a knife, fork and spoon, only a metre from the try line with no defenders ahead...Smith fumbled the ball and gave a knock-on, much to the dismay of his comrades.

Despite the loss of possession the Norwich side worked hard to retake control of the final ten minutes and the forwards worked tirelessly to gain ground once again with their patient application of strength. This caused B.Weaver to spot a gap and despite a scramble defence to close the space, Weaver bulldozed through their lines to cross the whitewash a little ways left of the post.
The kicker opted for a drop goal this time round, clearly his forte as the ball sailed between the sticks. 12-34.

The hosts then punctuated the game with a converted try which, whilst did nothing to change the result made the AXV realise work still needed to be done and focus until the final whistle was a critical issue. 19-34.

A brilliant showing overall with plenty to improve before the cup final.

MOM - Vivek Valmiki for an exceptional rate of work and an ever reliable ability to score tries.

DOD - Mark Smith for his wasted opportunity... And for making everyone do all that running for nothing...

Report, MCW.

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