Fakenham travelled to Swaffham for the first round of the Norfolk Junior Cup in high spirits following their recent league form. This game had the potential for Fakenham to challenge Swaffham an EC1 league team and progress to the next round. Swaffham had not read the Fakenham script however and raced into a 14 – 0 lead within 15 minutes of the kick off, their dominance in the forwards showing clearly where the visitors had their main injury problems. The rest of the first half saw an uncharacteristic display from Fakenham with their defensive system not working to its usual standard with players falling off tackles and allowing Swaffham to gain territory and make it very difficult for Fakenham to settle into
any form of system. Swaffham kept pressing their advantage home and were rewarded with another try but the conversion missed the target to leave the score at half time at 19-0.
After a rousing team talk at half time the spectators hoped that Fakenham would come out and hit their usual style of play but that didn’t happen and their frustration was clear when a penalty was awarded to Swaffham. The kick was good and they stretched their lead to 22-0. Fakenham finally woke up and started to work together as a team and show some of their capabilities breaking deep into the Swaffham half, replacement scrum half Declan Sperring picked the pace up and Fakenham strung 7 phases of play together to move 10 meters from the try line, Dec saw a gap and picked and drove for the line to score the visitors first points, Tom Bane-Young hit the conversion 22-7. Fakenham built again and were now more confident in their abilities and drove deep into the home sides territory with a series of drives, rucks and mauls, the final pass went to Josh Sperring who dived in to score Fakenham’s second try, a miscued kick went wide 22-12. The third try for the visitors was down to sheer pace and pinpoint passing which put Ashley Stewart free to cross towards the Swaffham line but with the Swaffham defence recovering quickly Ashley kept his head and with Luke Taylor in support drew the cover and gave a superb inside pas to Luke to score on the left, Tom B-Y kick the conversion to make the score 22-19. Fakenham believed they could overhaul their opposition but with time running out took one or two risks and found themselves having to scramble defend. Tom B-Y seemed to break free at the half way only for a last-ditch tackle to bring him down, time had run out as the final whistle blew with the score at 22-19. Fakenham had showed their metal in the second half but rued their dire both their performance in the first half and what might have been. When playing as they normally do, Fakenham look easily capable of competing at the next level and must now concentrate on their league campaign.
Saturday 10th December will see Fakenham seconds travel to Broadlands in their league endeavours whilst the first team have a rest week and a chance to recover from on-going injuries.