Fakenham thought they had taken the lead early in this game when after a prolonged attack and 4 or 5 phases of play around the Walsham 5 meter line saw Craig Prior dive between the defence's legs to ground the ball. The referee was unsighted and therefore could not award the try, much to Craig's and Fakenham's anoyance.
Both sets of forward seemed to struggle with the interpretation of the law relating to competition for the ball at rucks. Some rucks were just a pile up of bodies with both sides infringing, issues included not releasing the ball or going off their feet to compete for the ball. Three such incidences produced opportunities for kickable penalties in the first half, 33 minutes Into the game Fakenham infringed at a ruck and gave Walsham the lead with a penalty kick (0-3). Four minutes later Fakenham were on the attack and this time Walsham infringed to give Fakenham a chance to equalise and Tom Bane-Young slotted the kick (3-3). The game was end to end, Fakenham defence were again adjudged to have infringed the laws and found themselves behind on the stroke of half time 3-6.
The half time talk to Fakenham was to tidy up the ruck and mauls and to control them better so they could exert pressure on the Walsham pack. This was not evident in the first 15 minutes of the second half which unfortunately followed the pattern of the first but then started to pick up with Fakenham starting to force their will on Walsham which caused the inevitable penalty for Tom B-Y to convert to equal the scores again. This seemed to spur on Fakenham, they attacked the Walsham 22 when another penalty was awarded for a high tackle which Tom B-Y scored (9-6). The Fakenham attacks were now coming more frequently and they seemed to have control of the rucks as well, an attack down the left wing with forwards in support drove to within 5 meters of Walsham's line and although they defended manfully Bob Sayer was not to be denied from two meters out and forced himself over the line, this time the referee was not unsighted and saw the ball grounded, however the conversion was missed (14-3). Fakenham could not relax as Walsham were keen to show off their attacking skills and did so but without adding to their score as Fakenham's scramble defence stopped the attacks. Fakenham capitalised on a mistake at a Walsham lineout around their own 22 for Fakenham's on the pitch skipper to poach a well-deserved try which was converted by Tom B-Y to take the score to 21-6. Fakenham saw out the remainder of the game in control both on the pitch and on the scoreboard with neither side adding to their scores, the final result of 21-6 saw Fakenham inflict the first defeat of the season on this previously unbeaten Walsham side.
Fakenham host Lakenham Hewitt 1st team on Saturday 2nd March for a NMT div 1 game, there will be a pre-match lunch for sponsors and supporters. Kick off time we believe will be 2pm. Fakenham second team are due to travel to Diss 4th team for a Div 3 NMT game.
The pre-match luncheon at Fakenham is sponsored by AOT engineering who will also sponsor the match ball. During the lunch 3 of Fakenham's young adult players will receive RFU Young Volunteers awards from Gregory Underwood representing the Eastern Counties Rugby Football Union. We hope to see a good crowd for the game also.