In a break from League action last weekend Fakenham were drawn against Watton for the first time this season in the Norfolk Plate with a chance for the winner to progress to the semi-finals of this competition. Fakenham were in good spirits at the start of the game considering the fierce cross wind that was to make it difficult for both sides, but they were soon under pressure from a well drilled Watton side (in third place in EC3 North). Fakenham were constantly pressed deep into their own half and were soon behind after a well-worked try 5-0 broke through the normally impregnable Fakenham defence. The visitors rallied but some handling errors and a failure to look after the ball found they were back on the defensive again, trying to contain a rampant Watton team and then went further behind when Watton scored their second try, 10-0. Fakenham needed desperately to get back into the game and on their next drive Tomas Bane-Young took a chance to launch a drop goal to put them on the scoreboard at last 10-3. The game was now more
open and moved up and down the pitch led by captain Bob Sayer and the Fakenham pack responded and started to exert pressure on the Watton forwards and help their quicker backs find more room to work but the move was actually finished by Bob Sayer who scored an unconverted try, 10-8. Fakenham had some difficulties with the restart as nobody claimed the ball and it allowed Watton to pressurise them, however Fakenham’s backs were starting to run free and supported by the hard working forwards were gaining ground with each attack allowing full back Lloyd Marshall to cross the line and take the lead for the first time in the game 10-13. From a scrum midway into the Watton 22m area Fakenham then moved the ball quickly and Tom B-Y broke the initial line of defence and just as the cover tackle came in he slipped the ball to Luke Taylor who had cut an amazing line to score close to the posts and Lloyd Marshall converted to take the lead 10-20 at half time.
The second half saw Watton come out with the same determination as they showed in the first half, but the Fakenham defensive system stared to work well and repelled the Watton attacks and made some ground themselves. From about 40m out the ball went to the Watton full back who saw a half gap and with a mixture of pace and strength broke the line and headed outside, the cover tackles could not stop him and he made it close to the posts to score a converted try 17-20. Fakenham needed to raise their game to be sure of the win and they duly did only for the final pass to go astray or ill-discipline give penalties away and they lost most of the ground they had made. Fakenham kept battling away and eventually eased the pressure when replacement Steven Clay broke and drew the cover tackle and slipped the ball to Luke Taylor who finished in style under the posts and Lloyd Marshall converted to take the score to 17-27 and give Fakenham some breathing space. Fakenham had had plenty of possession and territory later on in the second half and should have made more points but again Ill- discipline gave too many penalties away, Fakenham’s coaches must look at two areas of Saturdays game the penalty count and their seemingly inability to deal with kick off receipts. Fakenham will now progress to the semi-finals but at this time do not know whom they will face.
Saturday 13th February will see Fakenham first team back in league action against West Norfolk 2nd team and Fakenham seconds will start their second half league program against Norwich Medics seconds Kick offs will be 2:30pm. There is also a pre-match luncheon sponsored by H. Banham Ltd a regular supporter of Fakenham Rugby Club. A good crowd of spectator is expected for both games so come and join us for these exciting games.