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Match Report

Norwich AXV make it three on the bounce with a strong performance against Medics, 33:15


Norwich AXV make it three on the bounce with a strong performance against Medics, 33:15

Norwich AXV make it three on the bounce with a strong performance against Medics.

Knowing they faced a notoriously well-drilled and fit opposition, Norwich warmed up with a clear plan to execute the basics and keep their game calm and clinical.

Norwich kicked off and their tempestuous pack chased down a good take from the visitors the ball and turned over almost immediately. Pre-game chat fresh in their minds the AXV drove forward in strong, steady attacks.

A cool-headed R. Bracewell at 9 orchestrated a series of forward balls using the ballast of second rowers B.Weaver and J.Hynd to punch holes, with exceptional support from the rest of the pack to secure and go again. Possession stayed almost wholly with Norwich for the first fifteen, any turnovers won back almost as quickly as lost. Slowly, surely the AXV tactics paid dividends as more heavy-lifting from the feverish pack saw B.Weaver crash through the defensive line for the first score of the game, and his first try for Norwich. Conveniently, this was only a metre or two left of the sticks. M.Cole-Wilkin duly nudged the extra two points. 7-0.

Sticking with what works, Norwich received the restart and attacked in the same mighty manner. Medics began to gather and started to respond with some aggression that took Norwich struggled to handle for a time. This allowed the away side through with some damaging runs, showing as predicted that they were dangerous if left unchecked. Norwich failed their first test in defence ad were punished by a try in the corner. Unconverted, 7-5.
Never a team to drop their heads the AXV only became more eager and on the restart resumed their clinical, brutish work to knock holes in the visiting set-up. J.Hynd, already having played a dazzling role in the first half an hour made a clean break and charged up field. Falling fifteen metres short of the whitewash, he presented neatly to the support. The subsequent phase saw B.Weaver heading for the wing with ball in hand, clearly looking threatening and drawing three of the opposition across before offloading to fullback M.Cole-Wilkin…
…who cut inside and headed through the recently uncorked defence. Chasers in tow he found his way under the posts. Downward pressure applied and try converted, 14-5.

The score remained the same for the rest of the half, but tiredness was visible and the break was a welcome one. Norwich gathered and insisted on continuity in place of a few small mistakes. Unfortunately as the half restarted Medics had added fire to their game and they struck quickly with a secondly deadly attack and closed the gap with another try. Unconverted, 14-10.

Norwich were suddenly rumbled and began to show cracks in what had been an exceptional defence. After the restart further indiscipline and poor tackling allowed Medics back to within threatening distance once more and whilst they were kept at bay for a long period by some tireless home defending, a quick tap penalty saw Medics score in the corner once again. Unconverted, 14-15.

Behind for the first time in the match and very aware of it, Norwich restarted with renewed aggression but in measured, patient phases as per their original game plan. V.Valmiki upped his already considerable work rate and began puncturing the Medics defence after swapping from flanker to outside centre. Support players were hot on his shoulder and the imperturbable play from the home side saw J.Hynd crash over just right of the posts. With the scorer having been so sympathetic with distance, the kicker converted. 21-15.

From the restart, Norwich gathered and hit straight back with the pack working feverishly. A hard press saw the defenders commit too many players leaving an overlap for winger L.Messenger to switch on the afterburners down the wing, running clear to score under the posts. Comfortably converted, 28-15.

The final knockings of the game were played much in the same style, with Medics causing trouble for the home side but being kept at bay by some exceptional defence and a final attack by the AXV. Some smart passes coupled with brilliant support, wing to wing and back again meant that B.Weaver could pick-and-go off a breakdown five metres out. As per most of the game he proved too much trouble for the scramble defence and after muscling through two or three tackles, crashed down close to the corner. The kicker was too modest to make it 5 from 5, so the conversion fell short. Game ends 33-15.

A huge array of brilliant performances from all the AXV, each and every player stepped up a gear from previous weeks. Huge well done to R.Bracewell at 9 and M.Smith at 10 who orchestrated a well-paced, persistent attack throughout and to the forwards in their substantial entirety for amazing ground work allowing the backs to play some free flowing rugby from threatening positions.

MOM. Vivek Valmiki for an incredible defensive shift and some huge, striking runs setting up a huge portion of the AXV strongest plays.

DOD. Joe Bennet as yet for reasons unknown. Perhaps a dropped ball… One had to be picky with the performances on show.


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