This Norfolk Junior Cup match was the first time these local sides have played each other for two seasons with Swaffham playing in EC1 and Fakenham playing in EC2 North. This was a good opportunity for Fakenham to see how their three year plan was coming along and the possibility to cause a cup upset if they could play to their potential. The game was played in windy wet weather and that had an effect on handling skills early on, both teams spurned early penalty chances to keep the score at 0-0. The game was backwards and forwards with Swaffham having the best of the open forwards play and Fakenham the better of the back encounters. Swaffham took the
lead when they scored a try close to the posts to make the kick a simple one and this was duly converted to make the score 7-0. Fakenham pushed forward in response and forced Swaffham to concede a penalty at the breakdown Tom Bane –Young allowed a slightly bigger margin on his kick for the wind and was successful (7-3). Fakenham pressed hard again and took the play into the Swaffham half with good interplay between Fakenham forwards and backs and forced Swaffham who were trying to recycle from a ruck to infringe and give Tom Bane-Young another shot at goal, a well-judged kick took the score to 7-6 at half time.
Fakenham looked bright at the start of the second half and made ground but either they knocked on or lost their discipline by going into the side at rucks or wlse in open play they proceeded to hand the ball back to their hosts. A good break involving scrum half Harry Richardson, Tom B-Y, Adam Lingwood back to Tom B-y who drew the fullback and passed to Lloyd Marshall to run in under the post for a try and a pretty simple kick for Tom B-Y took the full 7 points and give Fakenham the lead for the first time in the game 7-13. The response from Swaffham was swift but the Fakenham defence and scrummage kept the home side out. Fakenham again broke out their own half only to give possession away through ill-discipline at the breakdown due mainly to frustration and looking for another score. Swaffham then put a concerted effort together and forced a score and convert to take them into the lead 14-13. The final 10 minutes saw both teams engineer scoring opportunities but Swaffham made the best of one of theirs to score in the last minutes of the game and convert the kick to take the final score to 21-13. Fakenham were disappointed with the final score but they should not be disappointed with their performance, competing with a side from a higher league and the game could have gone either way on a drier day or with a different bounce of the ball. The progress of the team shows that the first season of a three year plan is already paying dividends with plenty of youngsters playing in the first team and coach Mike Curry developing a good game plan to defend well and attack in numbers.
Saturday will see both first and seconds return to league action, the first team at home to Wymondham seconds and the seconds travelling to top of the table Norwich thirds. Both games will kick off at 2pm because of the failing light towards the end of the day.