Fakenham edged this tense London EC3 league game between these two mid-table clubs on a dry breezy afternoon at Thetford Rugby club. In footballing terms, a true game of two halves, both sides well matched but the first half saw Thetford making the most of the chances and Fakenham allowing too many errors in their play, spoiling the flow of their attacks.
Thetford raced into a 10-point lead with a converted try and added a penalty kick on their very next attack 10-0.
Fakenham responded with an unconverted try through Ashley Stewart wide on the right 10-5, but Thetford regained the ball from the kick off and attacked deep into the Fakenham half scoring a try under the post which was converted 17-5.
The visitors rallied and after what seemed like ten phases of play a sharp move by the backs saw Jack Whiteside pick up a pass off his toes to dive over and score Fakenham’s second try, converted by Tom Bane-Young 17-10.
Thetford had not finished though and again challenged for the kick off, winning
possession. After being pushed back by Fakenham with some great defence the dam broke and Thetford scored their third try to take the score to 24-12 and half time followed shortly afterwards.
Fakenham supporters hoping for a rally in the second half were disappointed when Thetford scored their fourth converted try of the game within two minutes of the restart, moving the score to 31-12.
A quick response from Fakenham saw a try of their own wide out on the left from Murray Tindall, unfortunately unconverted, 31-17. From the restart the Thetford number 12 once again challenged the kick off, jumping high above the static Fakenham defence to claim the ball, Fakenham’s scramble defence held the attack at bay but was finally breached to concede an unconverted try, 36-17.
Fakenham, however, still believed in themselves and continued to attack and were rewarded with a converted try from Jordan Walker and goal kicker Tom B-Y 36-24. The home side made it difficult for the visitors with a stern defensive line and made Fakenham fight for every bit of possession. After Joe B-Y tried to cross the line but was adjudged to have been short, the following scrum saw Man of the Match, Rob Ward, force his way over the line to score another try, converted by Tom B-Y 36-31. Fakenham now believed the game could be theirs and after pushing deep into the Thetford half attacked up the right through Tom B-Y but the Thetford defence held him up but a slight of hand offload to Rob Ward wrong footed the home side and he was in for his second try.
The conversion was now crucial as the score was tied 36-36, captain Tom B-Y placed the ball and steadied himself before sending the kick though the middle of the posts 36-38. Time was running out in the game but Thetford were not going to lie down and they threw their full force behind their own attack but Fakenham defended well and turned over the ball and attacked when the home side conceded another penalty. This allowed the visitors to run the clock down and clear for touch. The whistle went for full time with the score 36-38.
A hard-fought win with every player on both sides giving their all, the Fakenham skipper said “I could have given Man of the Match to all 17 players but Rob Ward just edged it for his work off the base of the scrum and his general work rate”.
Fakenham first team have a well-earned rest next week and return to action the following week with a home game and lunch when Wisbech visit for the next round of the London EC3 league, kick off will be 2:30pm. Fakenham second team have a game under lights away to Wymondham 3’s on Friday 8th February, kick off 7:00pm, all support welcomed by the players.