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Match Report

Holt 3s 33 Norwich 33

12/03/2020

Holt 3s 33 Norwich 33

On what was meant to be a rest week, the AXV made the journey into deepest, darkest North Norfolk to play Holt 3s, who have been rivals since before Adam caught his Mrs behind the orchard with a snake.

Numbers were good and the mood was an excited one as everyone was raring to get into the game. Both teams started well and the sides were clearly well matched, a lot of back and forth with fierce defence at both ends of the pitch being the only thing keeping exceptional attacks at bay. Norwich did open the scoring with a well worked push-and-drive off a line out with B. Weaver finally breaking his dry spell for the AXV and scoring the first five of the game. Hickford converts from an unlikely angle and the stands erupt with ovation. 0-7.

AXV-HOLT2020-1.jpg 

The visitors scored the second with Hickford putting an unbelievably well-placed grubber kick through the defensive line for returnee M.Reeve to chased down some fifteen metres and score in the corner, after some footballing skill of his own to steady the pill. Hickford once again nudged the ball in a manner which would tax even those at the highest flight of rugby. 0-14.

Holt soon came back with a score of their own, being a team of ruthlessness they managed to better their way through and score in the corner, unconverted. 5-14.

The AXV were only encouraged by that insult and with some tempestuous play they worked their way up field, pressing the home defence to such a degree as to extract several penalties – which in turn were punted up field for what had, all day, been a flawless Norwich line out. M.Chisholm saw his way over next with a line-out nicely won and sent into the virile grasp of his buxom arms and charged headlong through an assortment of stumbling black shirts. He dotted down with a similar trust in the kickers abilities and left the score in the corner. Hickford, sweating profusely at the prospect of breaking a good streak, put his boot through the ball so fiercely it sailed through the posts and into the stratosphere. Elon Musk is reportedly seeking recompense for a dent in the bonnet of his Roadster. 5-21.

AXV-HOLT2020-2.jpg 

Holt soon showed their strength and fought back to score another two, putting the teams to with just a couple of points with successful conversions and Norwich, deep into the second half knew it was game on. 19-21.
And from there we saw brilliant and fierce play from both clubs – with several nearly moments and many more applaudable ones. The crowd was certainly treated to a spectacle, the likes of which nought had seen since Maximus Decimus Meridus, Husband to a Murdered wife etc etc, took life for the sport of the unwashed in Rome’s finest suburbs.

Norwich put two more past their oppo with exceptional running from both C.Matthews and S.Howley, the pair being nigh on unstoppable over ten metres. Two more tries, both from hideous angles, Hickford converted the first and finally, his piston leg faltered and he fell shy of the second. 19-33.

The visitors looked to be in the clear, however much like the Trojan’s during the dispute of Helena’s virtue, they were perhaps guilty of complacency. Holt battled their way to another converted score and brought the game to within 7 points of a draw. With two minutes left, Norwich were tasked with holding firm to see out the win. Unfortunately this was not to be, with a pair of Holt legs dancing through Norwich shirts by the dozen. After 78 minutes of strong tackles and relentless linespeed, the AXV faltered and allowed a clean run to score under the posts, converted. 33-33, with time for the restart.

Norwich gathered well one last time and pushed forward, three or four offloads and two well-won breakdowns later, the maroon, green & gold found themselves a mere six inches from the tryline – to win it! Alas, a rush of blood saw a pair of Norwich hands playing the ball on the floor and Holt won a turnover. With both teams blowing and the true spirit of a friendly, the end of the game was opted for and the whistle blew with both teams in a mood similar to that which was felt around Eden Park after the third Lions text against the All Blacks in 2017. Interesting parallel there.

Quite frankly an exceptional game from both sides and on each side, from every single man. A true showing of heart and grit from the home side to keep strong and overcome a losing score and whilst taking home plenty of work-ons, a huge shift from the visitors to play out some excellent (almost) winning rugby.

MOM – R. Hickford for excellent game management and out-of-this-world footplay (Oo-er).

DOD – A. Fry – despite a brilliant game, for his pass being intercepted and for being naughty on 80 minutes in a scoring position.

Report: MCW
Photos: Marie Elvin

 
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