West Norfolk 48 Fakenham 17 – London Counties 3EC

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After finishing off the old year with an away win against Woodbridge and also beating league leaders, Holt, the four-week layoff seemed to have a really adverse effect on the Fakenham team, todays performance was disjointed and lacked accuracy, far too many times the ball was coughed up and first up tackles were brushed aside. From the outset West Norfolk played well with their large forwards more than making the gain line , in turn giving good ball to their very sharp half back pairing.
Early pressure from West Norfolk saw them held up twice over the Fakenham goal line with some good work by Joe Bane-Young and Lyam Thorpe in defence. When the try did come from West No8 Jamie Williamson, it also came with a yellow card for Fakenham. This knocked the confidence of the away side and saw West Norfolk score again, almost from the restart after some very poor defensive work. At 14 points down and 14 men on the field with only 12 minutes played, things were looking bad. Fakenham hung on though and produced a try of their own some 10 minutes later. Slick passing by Damon Howick saw Brett Stolworthy elusively cross over for a converted try making the score 14 points to 7. Expectations that this was the catalyst for a more cohesive looking Fakenham unfortunately

did not last long. The home side kicked two penalties after Fakenham’s midfield were caught offside. From the restart Fakenham worked their way up to a lineout 5 meters from the West Norfolk line. Fakenham gave away the ball once again resulting in a converted try down the other end of the pitch. Half time West Norfolk 27 Fakenham 7.
The next 30 minutes belonged almost entirely to the home side who scored 3 more unanswered tries to take the score to 48 points to 7. In all honesty Fakenham are a much better team than this performance suggested and to their credit they did ultimately realise they were there to play rugby and finished the game the stronger side, if only they could have done so from the start. From a scrum Rob Ward broke and slipped the ball to Harry Richardson who passed to Lloyd Marshall. Lloyd threw a magnificent dummy to wrong foot the defence and slotted through a lovely weighted grubber kick for Murray Tindal to score in the corner. From the kick off Fakenham regained possession and another good inside pass saw Murray Tindal turn on the afterburners again, from fully 50 meters out he beat all of the cover defence to score a superb individual effort. With Fakenham pressing hard for a four try bonus point the time eventually ran out for them. West Norfolk were by far the best team on the day and well deserved the win.
Man of the Match for Fakenham went to Ashley Stewart who never seemed to stop running all afternoon and was always in the action.
Although there were glimpses of what this exciting Fakenham team can do, Paul Richardson, Fakenham coach, said "four weeks is too long between games. I am sure, with this game under their belts and two more training sessions before our next game, against Crusaders on the 12th January at Fakenham with a 2.00pm KO, we will be back to our best.”
Merit table fixtures have now been organised for Fakenham 2nd’s with the first game at home against Broadland 2nd’s on 2nd February, please come and support them if you can.