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Match Report

Epping Upper Clapton 0 Norwich 32

23/11/2019

Epping Upper Clapton 0 Norwich 32

Norwich’s chariot wheels got somewhat stuck in the cloying Essex mud as they ground out a bonus point win at, bottom side, Epping Upper Clapton, with the last play of the game. Whilst the home side rarely threatened the Norwich line, their defensive performance was tenacious and the Norwich players knew they had been in a contest.

Epping U.C. v Norwich away-9.jpg

It all started well enough, when Chris Parrott put in a delightful kick into the corner and Norwich stole the lineout, set up a drive and Richie Ruddick, at the back, scored. Theo Elliott converted.

Epping U.C. v Norwich away-4.jpg

Norwich found looking after the greasy ball, in the mud, difficult and rarely put anything more than a couple of phases together. With Jack Walsh sent to the bin, Norwich upped the tempo and from a penalty, Elliott added three points.

Epping U.C. v Norwich away-13.jpg

With errors and poor execution causing moves to break down, another score before half time seemed unlikely, and so it proved to be with the visitors going in 0-10 up at the break, having weathered some strong running from the Epping forwards.

Epping U.C. v Norwich away-14.jpg

Norwich looked much more assured in the second half but still found the Epping defence hard to breach. After battering the Epping line but failing to score, they opted to take the points from one of the numerous penalties Epping conceded, Elliott scoring.

Epping U.C. v Norwich away-19.jpg

As the hosts were reduced to 14 men, for tripping a Norwich player, the visitors built patiently through the phases, changing the point of attack when Dave Micklethwaite, broke through a gap and popped a short pass to Chris Parrott who strolled in under the posts. Elliott added the conversion.

Epping U.C. v Norwich away-40.jpg

Norwich started to go through the gears, and Laurence Austin broke through, going over to the left of the posts with 8 minutes remaining. The kick was missed.

 Epping U.C. v Norwich away-46.jpg

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With the game won, Norwich’s interest was in the bonus point try, which had seemed a long way off at half time. Despite some promising moves, it seemed that their opportunity had gone, with a knock on within the Epping 22. The referee declared the forthcoming scrum to be the final play of the game.

Epping U.C. v Norwich away-28.jpg

Epping’s scrum had been solid all afternoon and they won the ball but, they still wanted to play and fired the ball out to the backs. The pass was a poor one and it went loose into their in-goal area where Rob Micklethwaite, who was charging up to attack the line, gratefully pounced on it. Elliott added the points to conclude the game.

Epping U.C. v Norwich away-35.jpg

Epping didn’t play like a side that has only secured two bonus points all season, and they made life hard for Norwich, playing the conditions well. To Norwich’s credit, they weathered everything that Epping could throw at them and, despite being far below their best, stuck to their task to maintain their slender 5 point lead at the top of the table.

Epping U.C. v Norwich away-41.jpg

 Epping U.C. v Norwich away-50.jpg

 Epping U.C. v Norwich away-22_1.jpg

 
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