`````Saturday 6th January started with some bad news for Fakenham RUFC. In the early hours of the morning, a gas canister was dragged across the pitch to the dugout, set alight and left to explode. Thankfully no-one was hurt and the main building was undamaged, but it left a significant amount of debris on the pitch. The club would like to extend its thanks to both the fire service and police who were quickly on the scene, and also to all the people who helped at the club throughout the morning to ensure the pitch was suitable for the game to go ahead.
Later in the day, both sides were in action, the 1st XV hosting Beccles 1st XV and the 2nd XV traveling to Wymondham 3rd XV. The 1st XV went into their fixture knowing a win would seal the Eastern Counties 1 (North) division for them and ensure they won through to the playoffs in the second half of the season as Division Champions. The 1st half of the match was a competitive affair with both sides running hard and defending well. Beccles had the first opportunity of points when Fakenham failed to deal with the catch from the kickoff and the infringement at the resulting breakdown led to a kickable penalty. The normally reliable boot of the Beccles kicker pushed the kick wide though, a let-off for Fakenham. Fakenham showed the varied play that has taken them to the position they are now, the first score resulted from some strong composed forward play making hard yards in the final third of the field with Ashley Stewart touching down for the score. The second try came soon after from
another forward, Adam Lingwood, who showed a presence of mind and took a tap penalty, after some interlinked passing with the backs, he got the ball back to reach the last 2 meters and touch down. The next two scores were a display of how strong the Fakenham centers are. Joe Bane-Young crossed first, running at both the Beccles inside center and No.8 and pushing both off to score. Soon afterwards Joe Bane-Young was substituted by Jordi Walker, who, with fresh legs and a couple of good hand-offs ran in the fourth try from 30 meters out. This sealed the bonus point for Fakenham before the 1st half was out, score 24 - 0. One area that has been lacking in Fakenham's arsenal has been their lineout. Today, however, they performed well and provided good clean ball for the backs to run onto. They will still be disappointed with a driven maul they took up to the line but could not convert to points, but, overall, it showed a big improvement.
The second half continued with Fakenham being the dominant side although the play became somewhat scrappier, not helped by 2 Yellow Cards for Fakenham and 1 for Beccles. Fakenham did not have it all their way and Beccles had an extended period of play where they were strongly attacking the Fakenham line. Fakenham will be pleased that their defense held strong with no missed tackles, also an area that has plagued them at times.
By the time the second half was done Fakenham had run in a further 6 tries from Callum Frost, Tom Bane-Young, Luke Taylor, Lloyd Marshall and a further 2 for Jordi Walker along with a total of 5 conversions for Lloyd Marshall. The final score was 60 - 0, a win that, with 3 games to spare, confirms Fakenham as division champions of Eastern Counties 1 (North).
Not to be outdone the Fakenham 2bd team were away to Wymondham 3rds and took up from where they left the game before Christmas with a 12-55 win which included 5 tries from Josh Gee.There is only a first team game next week with the squad traveling to third place Diss, the game starting at 2:00pm.