Having won their initial game of the Shield, Fakenham 1st XV came into this game expecting a stern test. Their opponents were Ipswich YM 1st XV, a team who had come to this point with 14 out of 15 bonus point wins so far. The weather was perfect; the pitch was drier and a big crowd had turned up at the club expecting good rugby.
Fakenham started the game and were quickly on top. Tries for Fakenham came in the third (Jack Powell-Thorn), sixth (James Howell), twelfth (James Howell) and seventeenth minutes (Jack Powell-Thorn), Lloyd Marshall converted 2 of them. The early dominance came from Fakenham’s total control of the game. In the first 20 minutes YM could not get any possession and the pressure showed with the Fakenham forwards running both at the fringes of the ruck and further out, drawing in some strong tackling from YM.
With the YM defence occupied coping with the forwards, the backs had the space to run and make good ground. Fakenham's first 4 scores all came from the forwards whose work rate was exceptional. Special mentions should go to Jack Powell Thorn and Rob Ward, both of whom played well. Ward was awarded the Norfolk Brewhouse Man of the Match award for his hard work.
Finding themselves 24 points down within 20 minutes the YM team re-grouped and showed
Last Saturday Fakenham hosted Hadleigh in the first game of the Eastern Counties 1 Shield competition, this shield competition sees the top 2 sides from each of EC1 North, South and West competing for overall champion status and promotion.
Fakenham started well, collecting the Hadleigh kick off and running through the phases to bring the game play into the Hadleigh half of the pitch.
Fakenham moved closer to the Hadleigh line attacking with both forwards and backs.
The first score resulted from a Lloyd Marshall grubber kick behind the Hadleigh defensive line. Marshall was just unable to gather the kick but flank forward Howard Kellock was 2nd to the ball and gathered it for an easy touchdown, converted by Lloyd Marshall.
Fakenham’s second try soon followed. Aggressive in attack and with good running lines the home side were dynamic, and this play moved Fakenham right up to the Hadleigh line. A surging run from prop Jack Powell-Thorne took him to within 1 meter of the line and his front row counterpart Callum Frost saw an opening just around the side of the ensuing ruck which he could power through for the try, again converted by Marshall.
Hadleigh were now 14-0 behind within the
Fakenham hosted Norwich Medics in their final EC1 North league game. Having played 13, won 13 with bonus point wins. Fakenham were on a mission to win this league game to make it a clean sweep before starting the second phase of the promotion play offs.
This was a challenging game in difficult weather and pitch conditions but Fakenham finally pushed through to take the bonus point win for the clean sweep.
It was to be one of those games with sides camped in the oppositions half for long periods. Medics keep Fakenham honest throughout the game, forcing them to defend, often for long periods, whilst they tried for their own win.
Fakenham were to score two first half tries with one converted by Lloyd Marshall, the first from Murray Tindal and an interception by Josh Gee resulted in an excellent solo second try.
The second half saw Medics score an unconverted try of their own after a sharp passing movement put their centre clean
On a damp Saturday 20th January, Fakenham 1st XV travelled to local rivals Swaffham for their penultimate game of the first half of the season. The pitch was very heavy from the winters weather making running hard and handling loose. This played into the hands of the bigger pack of Swaffham and made it harder for Fakenham's incisive back line.
Fakenham's indiscipline set them back early on when the referee awarded a penalty against them for an infringement around the ruck. The kick was true and within the first couple of minutes Swaffham were leading 3 - 0.
As the half wore on Fakenham showed why they were the top of the Division. The conditions made handling difficult but Fakenham could still move the ball out to their wings who then outflanked the Swaffham defence and make ground up the pitch.
Swaffham were not a push over though as their big runners broke
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Last Saturday saw Fakenham 1st travel south to Diss to take on their 2nd XV. The match started brightly for Fakenham with high intensity in the game play moving them up the field quickly. The first score came within 5 minutes of the kickoff. Fakenham reversed the direction of attack and Joe Bane-Young fed debutant flanker Rob Ward. Ward initially juggled the catch, but once he had the ball secure, he broke a tackle and found himself with a 20 metre sprint to the line for the touchdown.
Fakenham kept up the pressure on Diss and it wasn’t long before the second score came. Following a lineout, Fakenham ran a couple of phases with the forwards taking the play into the centre of the field. With Diss’s defence drawn in, the space opened up back to the left. Joe Bane-Young was again involved, this time giving the pass to Number 8 Howard Kellock who had an untouched 10 meter run to the line.
Diss were needing to get some momentum goinig in rder to establish a foothold in the game but again it was Fakenham who scored next. Diss were trying to use their big forwards to set some phases together and work their way out of their own 22 but the ball was dislodged in a tackle and spilled out the side. Howard Kellock was the first to react and scooping up the ball he headed for the line. A simple pass was given and winger Brett Stolworthy was able to coast over the line. This try was then converted by Lloyd Marshall.
With Fakenham leading by 17 points to nil Diss started to become