This Norfolk Merit Table 1 match between Fakenham and West Norfolk 2nds was preceded by the Chris Wood Celebration lunch, an annual event held in honour of a former club player. Chris's family attend each year and the raffle at the lunch raises money for a charity they choose to support, they also present the match ball and a shield for the Man of the Match each year. We must thank West Norfolk who gave up home advantage to allow us to have a competitive match to follow this important lunch, three West committee members including the club President also attended.
The match started with West putting pressure on Fakenham for about 10 minutes and only great defending and a superb try saving tackle by full back Tom Bane-Young stopped them tacking a well-deserved lead. Fakenham then enjoyed a period of pressure and caught the West full back in possession, Howard Kellock charged the kick down and retrieved the ball to run the ball under the posts to score the try for the first points in the match, Tom Bane-Young added the extra points (7-0). The game stayed
close and competitive and when West infringed, Fakenham decided to take the kick and add 3 points (10-0). The game moved from end to end with both teams attacking and defending with vigour, which made for a great match to watch for the spectators. Fakenham on one of their forays into West's 22 won the forward contest to produce good fast ball for their backs, a swift passing move saw outside centre Tim Syer attack and with the wing and full back out wide found himself one and one in a big space. The extra speed he has developed this season allowed him to beat his opposite number on the outside, Tim then crossed the line near to the post for a converted try kicked by Tom B-Y to make the score 17-0 at half time.
The second half did not disappoint, producing more of the great rugby shown in the first half. Fakenham opened the second half scoring when winger Josh Gee crossed in the corner under a strong defence but the try was not converted (22-0). Fakenham also had a penalty kick which hit the upright and came back into play West reacted quicker and drove the ball up the field with a fantastic mazy run by the West full back. Fakenham seemed to be losing some of their impact as one or two injuries to players needed replacements and also the pace of the game seemed to be affecting some of the bigger players. With some well-timed replacements Fakenham got back into the game. They were hoping to keep a clean sheet but a well worked phase of play saw West eventually score a well-deserved try wide-out which made the conversion kick difficult and it was unsuccessful (22-5). West attacked with urgency thinking Fakenham were tiring and they could get further back into the game but Fakenham did enough to hold them and gave away no more points. The final whistle came and both sides respected the effort and endeavour showed by each other, the good crowd were also generous with their applause for both teams as they had enjoyed one of the best games seen at Fakenham this season. The day had produced a great lunch and a great game of rugby played with plenty of commitment and in the best spirit of rugby on a beautiful sunny day, what more could be asked.
Next week Fakenham travel to Wymondham for the second playing of this end of season fixture when they meet a Wymondham first team squad side.