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Match Report

Southend 50 Norwich 0

04/12/2021

Southend 50 Norwich 0

Norwich’s side, already severely hampered by injuries, was decimated on the eve of their trip to Southend by illness and covid issues. This resulted in only 16 players being able to travel and Coach Ben Scully having to take to the field for the full 80 minutes. With Concussion protocols sidelining prop Josh Stuart and the long-term absence of Matt Selby, 51 year old George Pope stepped in backed up by Mark Booker on the bench.

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The clichéd phrase that the score did not accurately reflect the game was actually true and players fought hard until the last minute. Their major disappointment was that they did not come away with at least 4 tries that they should have completed, somewhat the tale of the season so far.

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This was as a result of handling errors and failing to be quick enough to the breakdown to support the ball carrier to clear out the rucks, leaving them isolated.

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Despite some missed tackles, the Norwich defence was generally fierce and restricted the score to 19:0 at half time. Southend’s first try came on 20 minutes from a regulation lineout in the corner spread wide. The second followed in similar fashion. Norwich had two penalty kicks to the corner around the half hour mark but both failed, the second with a knock on in the driving maul, relieving the pressure they had built up.

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Southend scored again through a missed tackle in the centres under the posts and against the run of play. On the stroke of half time Norwich were robbed of a score in the corner by an offside Southend defender who was sent to the bin. They were unable to score from the tap penalty and were disappointed at that stage to go in empty handed.

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Southend’s first try of the second half came from them exploiting their massive 20 metre in-goal area with a kick over the heads of the defenders, beating them to the touchdown. A second followed shortly afterwards and effectively ended the contest.

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Norwich had some excellent periods of pressure but dropped ball cost them three potential scoring opportunities. The 16 kept going to the final whistle, exemplified by 51 year old prop George Pope who lasted until 60 minutes and with an excellent debut from Hayden Francis but the team came away empty handed.

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It gets much harder next week with the visit of league leaders Sudbury.

 

 
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