A good start to the New Year!
Fakenham travelled to Dereham on the back of a 7 game winning streak, full of confidence and fielding a team stronger than the last time the two sides met at Fakenham. The game started with Dereham on the attack but the new found discipline in defence from Fakenham repelled them and allowed them to launch attacks of their own. Fakenham spurned a chance to take the lead when Tom Bane-Young pushed his penalty kick and miss out on three points. Dereham breathed a sigh of relief and then set about building the pressure on Fakenham and pushed hard for the first score of the game, the breakthrough came when the number eight sneaked down the blind side of the ruck and beat the covering tackles to score
close to the posts, the kick was converted for the extra 2 easy points, 7-0. This spurred Fakenham to double their efforts and launch a multi phased attack culminating in a slick handling move with Harry Richardson sprinting to the line on the wing and making for the posts to give Lloyd Marshall an easy 2 points to square the game up at 7-7. Dereham again pressed forward to test the Fakenham defence and in the most part it held firm but for one moments lack of communication which gave Dereham the opening they were looking for and they exploited it to full potential scoring a try close to the posts which was also converted 14-7. The visitors took their opportunities to press again but could not penetrate the home sides' defence but instead forced a penalty for an infringement at a ruck, Lloyd Marshall was on kicking duty again but uncharacteristically hooked the kick across the front of the posts, this was a disappointing way to end the half with the score at 14-7 to Dereham.
The second half started with Fakenham determined to get back on level terms with their hosts and the attack produced one of the best handling moves of the game which saw all the Fakenham backs involved and finished by fullback Lloyd Marshal but it was scored out on the right wing and Lloyd missed his own kick to leave the score 14-12. Fakenham needed more points but Dereham were not going to give up easily and made it as difficult as possible for Fakenham, turning ball over and clearing their lines forcing Fakenham to reorganise and attack again and again. One such attack saw Fakenham drive deep into the Dereham 22m area and they were rewarded with a 5m scrum. The breakthrough cane when Howard Kellock recycled the ball in the resulting ruck and out to Paul Richardson who had to move quickly and improvise under pressure and he opted to pass the ball between his legs to Tom B-Young who forced he way over the try line. Lloyd was asked to take the kick, which was slightly to the right of the posts, but the kick was slotted right through the middle of the posts 14-19. Fakenham knew they could not relax and had to push forward again to try to open the gap to more than a converted try, Dereham were defending fiercely but Fakenham kept control of the ball until one ruck when Dereham could not resist having one more try to turn the ball to their advantage, the referee adjudged they had infringed and awarded a penalty to Fakenham. Bob Sayers decided to take the points on offer and called on Lloyd (now playing stand-off) to take the shot, he stepped up confidently and slotted the kick to increase the lead to 14-22. Dereham now took over the attack, trying to get back into the game and claw their way to a win and their efforts were rewarded with a try but it was unconverted to leave the score 19-22. Fakenham had to endure relentless attacks but held fast until the final whistle to win this EC2 North league game. Fakenham took 4 points and Dereham achieved a losing bonus point leaving them in 3rd place in the Division but the gap between the two sides in the table narrowed to two points to give Fakenham hope to reach their target of finishing at least third in the table.
Next Saturday will see a busy day at Fakenham with the first team hosting Norwich Lions and the seconds hosting Wymondham 3rds. Both games are league matches in their respective EC North divisions. Later the same day the club is holding a "Hot and Spicy" meal evening with three club members turning chef for this pop up restaurant night, there are still a few tickets available so contact Maarten von Ziegenweidt to check availability. Spectators are very welcome at the games and both matches will kick off at 2pm so don't be late you wouldn'