Saturday was a very disappointing result for a team wanting to consolidate their mid-table position in their first season in the London 3 Eastern Counties Division. This young side needs to stand back and reflect on how to make this complicated game easier. Amazingly there are times when you should take the simple option. When you have the wind at your back you should use the boot to make ground and not to try and run from the deep, risking turnovers and pressure. You will not score tries every time you get possession. Occasionally you should work for field position and put the onus on the opposition to work out of their own defence. A combination of all of these measures and also to stop giving easy penalties away could make a big difference to the game!
The match started at a hectic pace with huge commitment from both sides. Crusaders were happy for Fakenham to keep the ball alive and in hand as their much more direct approach was regularly getting the upper hand. The away sides larger forwards were causing problems for the Fakenham’s defence, resulting in an early converted try. 0 -7 to Crusaders. Fakenham struck back after a well taken line out on the 5-meter line by Adam Lingwood. This was mauled and the impressive Howard Kellock, ably supported by Jack Powell-Thorne, peeled
off to score out wide but with the cross wind the conversion was missed. 5-7. Crusaders extended their lead a short while later with an absolutely bizarre penalty which was originally given to Fakenham. When a legitimate question was asked by the Fakenham captain, Tom Bane Young, the referee, David Lund, inexplicably reversed his decision and took the captaincy away from him forcing him to play from full back rather than stand-off. 5-10. This disrespect shown to the home sides captain disrupted Fakenham’s organisation and took its toll for the remainder of the game.
Fakenham struck back with a penalty of their own, courtesy the boot of Lloyd Marshal after some powerful play by Jordii Walker returning to the fray from an injury at the start of the season, 8-10. This score was followed by a beautiful try from Luke Taylor. Murray Tindal made a quality midfield break and with good hands and fast distribution saw Lloyd Marshal, Damon Howick and Jordii Walker combine to put the scrum half over in the corner. 13-10. Some more enterprising rugby from Fakenham saw many penetrating attacks but were they were all foiled by simple errors. This, unfortunately, was the story of the day. Most of the Fakenham attacks, and there were very many, resulted in knock-ons that gave the ball back to the opposition. Stubborn defence, especially from Jordii Walker, Damon Howick and Lloyd Marshal, held out a rampaging Crusaders on the stroke of half time.
Pressure from the away side eventually resulted in a well taken try after some strong scrummaging in the second half. 13-15. More Fakenham attacks were abruptly stopped by mistakes just when they looked like converting flowing rugby into points. These mistakes were increasingly allowing the Crusaders forwards to dominate, especially from scrums. Fakenham did manage one well-constructed try for Tom Bane-Young to score in the corner. After a scrum 35 meters out from the crusaders line, the ball made its way to Murray Tindal who hit an elusive angle and showed his pace to break the first line of defence. An accurate pass then gave Bane -Young the opportunity to bounce off two tackles to touch down in the corner. 18-15. This left Fakenham 7 minutes to hold out in order to win the game. Sadly, this was not to be. A silly penalty given away on the half way line saw Crusaders kick deep into the home sides 22. From the following lineout a knock on occurred, resulting in a scrummage to the dominant away side. Half a dozen penalties and scrum options later the referee had little choice but to award a penalty try on the final whistle. Final score 18- 22. This was the second time this season that Fakenham have been beaten by Crusaders literally on the final whistle
Fakenham’s man of the match was shared between Damon Howick and Jordii Walker for their stout defensive work.
There is no 1st team game next week but the seconds are playing an away game against Crusaders 2, ko 2:00pm. The following week (26th Jan) the first team return to League action with an away fixture against Thetford, also with a 2:00pm ko.