WEst Norfolk 19 Norwich 22 (EC Cup)
For the second time in four weeks we found ourselves heading out to the distant lands that are West Norfolk Rugby Club. Whilst it was an overcast and dull journey we were hopeful that the rain would at worst be light and at best stay away completely.
On this occasion we were lucky and what rain we did get was light.
Once again we were welcomed warmly by our friends at W. Norfolk for our inaugural County Cup match, we hoped that the boys had learned from their last visit to Gatehouse Lane and would be able to turn the tables on their opponents.
After a motivational speech from the head coach, the likes of which I've seldom heard, the boys took to the field to run through their warm up drills with the coaches.
With the boot inspection and refs briefing over, our boys took their positions ready to accept the kick off from W. Norfolk.
From the off, it was apparent that the pre warm up chat had the desired effect, and Norwich took the game to their opponents. For the first 15 minutes of the first half Norwich piled on the pressure with strong forward progression, much of which was affected by excellent use of the pod system which the boys have been practicing during training. Notably their use of the ‘one’ and ‘two’ ball routine which had W. Norfolk on the back foot.
Some excellent defending by W. Norfolk and the inevitable ball handling errors by our boys meant that it took a while for Norwich’s dominance at this time to avail them of any score.
W. Norfolk having showed us their rugby ability 4 weeks ago were able to turn the tide against the run of play and score a try, not being able to convert it W. Norfolk went ahead 5-0.
However not to be out done and not letting their heads drop our boys rallied back and after a particularly strong push forward the ball was moved out to the wing where Jensen was once again able to forge down the wing planting the ball over the line to bring Norwich back into the game. Being an acute angle Tom was unable to convert the try.
Having dominated the game for the first 15 minutes Norwich inexplicably (well maybe not that inexplicably), started to allow W. Norfolk to boss the game, poor tackling and poor ball control (two hands please) being a couple of the areas where Norwich let themselves down and handed the baton to W. Norfolk. Two further converted tries from W. Norfolk meant at halftime they were leading 19-5.
With the start of the second half you could be forgiven for thinking that the game had got away from Norwich. Well how wrong were we (not me I always knew we were going to win), the boys game out of the blocks with gusto and for pretty much all the second half totally dominated the game.
Unfortunately for W. Norfolk they lost their talismanic No. 8 for 5 minutes for a foul on Joe in the red zone, which threw them into disarray and allowed Norwich to find their feet and make W. Norfolk pay for being a man down.
Some more strong forward aggression and good use of the pods allowed Alvin to take the ball forward and score a try, which was ably converted by Tom.
On the return of their No. 8, W. Norfolk came back strongly at Norwich but were unable to make any headway against a very determined Norwich side, who defended well and negated the extra impetus that their No. 8 brought to their side.
With Norwich having much of the play in the second half some unselfish play from our boys led to Theo scoring two brilliant tries for Norwich, there could have been more tries scored which showed the dominance Norwich brought to the second half.
Mention should be made to the work in and around the scrum in the second half by the forwards who at two critical moments in the game pushed W.Norfolk off their ball winning the scrum, it was very pretty and exciting to watch.
At the final whistle Norwich came out victorious winning 19:22, a great win for our boys who all deserved this result.
There were some great individual performances today but two notable performances from George Bradley ( forward of the day) and Reuben ( back of the day), well done both of you.
Obviously a strong finish from our boys, overall a great performance interspersed with a few errors which I'm sure with the hard work in training that you consistently strive towards will bring dividends for future games.
That said what a great days rugby, well done boys, you've certainly thrown the gauntlet down in the County Cup, let's keep it up and show everyone what you can do.
Well done lads a brilliant performance.