Fakenham 27 v Woodbridge 26 - London Counties 3EC

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This game, against Woodbridge, may have just about secured a 5th place finish in this very competitive London 3 EC League. After completing the double over their high-flying local rivals, Holt, last weekend the large crowd were looking forward to this last Fakenham home fixture of the league season.Fakenham started this game like they finished the last one, right on top of their form. With some swift hands and good ball retention, the home side worked their way up to the oppositions 22m and were duly rewarded with a scrum. The scrum was driven forward allowing Luke Taylor to pick up and pass to Lloyd Marshall who then popped the ball flat for Jordan Walker to burst onto which broke the Woodbridge defence and he scored under the posts. The try was converted by Lloyd Marshall. 7minutes into the game and 7 points up, it was looking good.

The game was only flowing one way and hopes were high when Fakenham had a lineout 10 meters short of the away sides line. Rory Singleton threw the ball in short which deceived Woodbridge’s forwards, and Rob Ward powered over unassisted for a fine try. Lloyd Marshall kicked the conversion from out wide to make it 14 in 14 minutes.
Some chinks in the Fakenham armour then appeared as they gave away a string of penalties because the support for the tackled player was too slow. The Fakenham defence, however, was as accurate as it was brutal, especially from Damon Howick and Jordan Walker. Lloyd Marshall slotted 2 penalty kicks between the poste to further extend the lead, but the lead was then reduced when Woodbridge scored a converted try by good work from their number 10. Not to be outdone, Fakenham struck straight back after some good work from Joe Bane-Young who made a half break supported by Rob Ward. Rob’s pass put Jordan Walker into some space which he made good use of, almost making the line. Ashley Stewart then took the ball the rest of the way with some excellent support play. Half Time 27 - 7.
Fakenham started the second half well with some fine pick and go work and were unlucky not to score on a number of occasions. This phase of play lasted for about ten minutes, then the game began to turn.
Woodbridge were looking fitter and were being tenacious in the tackle, turning ball over many times and as the first half belonged to Fakenham so the second half belonged to Woodbridge. After much pressure the away sides number 8 went over for an unconverted try after a dynamic run off a scrum, reducing the Fakenham lead to 27 - 12. The missed conversion was to prove costly for the visitors however.
Two more converted tries by Woodbridge, the final one being the last play of the game, saw them lose by just the one point, 27 - 26. The visitors well deserved a lot of credit for the way they came back, earning them 2 losing bonus points. The win gave Fakenham 4 points but also left them scratching their heads as to what went so drastically wrong in the second half.
Next week sees the final London Counties fixture of the season for the 1st XV with an away game against Ipswich YM, kick off 3:00pm.