This Woodfordes Norfolk Merit Table Division 3 game was an excellent example of how to play rugby with good spirit and humour and was a pleasure to watch. Norwich had definitely the better of the early encounters winning both the majority of the line-outs and scrums and enjoying the territorial advantage from the possession they gained. A mixture of good defence from Fakenham and poor handling from Norwich, however, turned the ball back over to Fakenham and their younger running backs counter attacked against the run of play to score through Steven Clay and converted by Tim Syer (0-7).
Norwich lifted themselves and attacked again only for a similar turnover to result in Adam Lingwood running in Fakenham's second try which was unconverted (0-12). With Fakenham full of confidence and running, attacks came from everywhere on the pitch and Charlie Harding scored Fakenham's third try which was converted by Dave Savage. Norwich rallied and a catch and driving maul from a line out forced Craig White over for a try which they converted (7-19). The writing was on the wall however for Norwich and Fakenham scored two more tries from George Ready and Dave Savage with both converted by Savage. Half time followed shortly afterwards with the score at Norwich 7 – Fakenham 33.
The play in the second half was very similar to the first with Norwich forcing the tight plays whilst Fakenham picked up loose ball and countered at every possible opportunity with their younger, fitter, backs taking full advantage of every opportunity, constantly breaking through tackles and powerful running meant they scored almost at will against the tiring and disheartened Norwich side. In total Fakenham scored a further 10 tries, Tim Syer (3), Dave Savage (2), Charlie Harding (1), Steven Clay (1), George Ready (1), Paul Ruston (1) and Rory Singleton (1). Conversions were made by Savage (3), Syer (3), Ready (1) and Singleton (1).
A good result for Fakenham but one that left some questions to answer, obviously the main ones to answer after this game are how to sort their line out (which was poor), tighten up the general scrummaging and improve the committal in some of the defensive tackling because had Norwich had better backs Fakenham could so easily have ended up with little possession – it is unlikely that all games will be this easy during the season.
All of the Fakenham players acquitted themselves well but special mention should go to Dave Savage who was trying out in a new position at Fly Half and Tim Syer who had returned after 4 weeks with a knee injury, both scored a hat trick of tries. Connor Smith had a very useful senior debut at hooker and all of the younger players proved that they would be in contention for first team places during the season.
Fakenham's first team get their league program off the ground at home next Saturday with a 3pm kick off against Thetford which historically always been a very close contest and certainly promises to be a very interesting League opener. The seconds are away to Lakenham NUCA in Norfolk Merit Table 3 fixture also a 3pm kick off and hopefully they will again show some of this games form.