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Match Report

Holt 3's 47 Norwich AXV 29


Holt 3's 47 Norwich AXV 29

A warm afternoon in March saw the AXV with a contingent of 17, a remarkable feat so late on in the season, travel to Holt in an effort to quash those on their heels for top spot. With many players bumped up to the Lions throughout the week the 3s’ ranks were bolstered with some newbies to the game. Special mention will go to these due to remarkable first time performances.

Testament to the spirit of Rugby there was an amicable meeting of captains, despite the rivalry and heat of the league. Norwich kicked off and Holt gathered well but were wrapped up in quick succession. The play remained an affair of mostly pushing and shoving from both sides for about ten minutes, hovering on the halfway mark for the majority.

Holt then decided to try the boot of the 10, releasing their wingers in space but the Norwich drifting defence, despite being young in rugby years, took this in their stride and halted any assault given.
Somewhere between the 25th and 30th minute was when Holt managed to exploit the inexperience of the AXV finding gaps ahead of them and hesitation as a response. They crossed the line twice in quick order, one conversion. 12-0.

Norwich were not to be put down so easily however and a late surge in the first half saw mounting pressure from the visitors causing clumsiness and indiscipline from the hosts. A quick tap penalty and a striking run from Charlie Hield saw the first points from the AXV as he went alone and put down somewhere far too close to the wing for the kickers liking. Unconverted 12-5.

This was shortly followed by a strong attack by the Holt flyers, which thanks to the Norwich defence was slowed and despite crossing the line was finally held up by the AXV Ten. The following scrum was turned and cleared by some sharp Norwich defending.

With fire in their hearts and about three minutes left of the first forty – Hield did something previously unheard of; ran a significant distance for the second time in a match. A series of excellent support and offloads from Norwich, saw a collection of eight passes in as many seconds, opening up gaps in the Holt defence. This released Hield to charge the remaining fifteen metres to put down under the post. (‘significant’ being a relative term’) Converted by the boot of Mike Alan. 12-12.

The half having ended a thoroughly tight affair, Holt restarted with aggression that Norwich struggled to match. A ten minute period where everything held firm was brought to an end by an impact subs from the hosts – scoring four tries and piling pressure on the visitors. Conversions all made. 40-12.

Holt continued to play to their game plan of drawing our players in with their strong running, leaving our backs exposed. This was capitalised on by a clever kick from the Holt 10, sending the ball to within 2 metres of the Norwich posts. Despite the AXV openside flanker's valiant charge back to secure, this was taken by the Holt chaser to score a converted try. It was deemed that this was a result of said flanker not diving on the loose ball but instead kicking the ball sideways, directly into the arms of the Holt man. And there we have our d**k of the day; Josh Hyland.

Restarting at 47-12 the AXV were tiring and had heads down. A telling off followed by some positive words saw a well-placed restart kick by the Norwich 10 get gathered up by his own scrum half. A few good offloads and some across the pitch play saw the Norwich prop Jason Hynde put down in the corner from a clever assist off 9. Unconverted, 47-17.

The aggression didn’t die down in the Norwich players, despite being too close to the final whistle to clinch it, the AXV battled to the end. Mounting attack after attack which was only just matched. Two highlights for Norwich in the last ten saw a heroic surge from Mike Alan who cut through three defenders with clever footwork and was finally wrapped up a metre from the try line. This wasn’t the end however as he channeled his inner Sonny-Bill and popped a no-look-out-the-back offload as he fell. This went straight into the arms of prop Hynde who crashed over to complete his brace. Try converted by the offending 9.

The whole affair was deemed too ‘naughty’ and many spectators needed a good sit-down to compose themselves. 47-24.

Finally the Norwich surge was punctuated by the Norwich 10, who, after taking too long to distribute, lost the ball to the opposition, but quickly repented with a shock intercept and stepped past three chasers and had a lethargic charge of ten metres to score next to the posts.

The 9 made up for his overall-exceptional game by shanking wide the conversion, practically in front of goal. The whistle blew shortly after, 47-29 the final score.

A fantastic game despite the result. Plenty to work on for the AXV ahead of their big league game next week.
Special mention to George Wright, Jonny Gale and Damian Brooks who all came for their first game (or first in a while) of rugby but each put in a blinding shift in spite of it.

Also to Abel Bracewell of the Norwich youth who played a brilliant first half but took a nasty knock to the head at the end of it, sending him to A&E to get glued up. I am pleased to say he is absolutely fine and may even be match fit in a week.

MOM: Charlie Hield for an exceptional brace against his old club and a great work rate.
DOD: Nearly myself for losing the ball when an overlap was on, but then everyone remembered Josh Hyland and his kind assist of the final Holt try.

Matt Cole-Wilkin

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