Norwich Union 2nd 14-19 Fakenham 2nd – Eastern Counties 4N

This EC4 North league fixture was in some awful weather and handling skills were always going to be difficult for free flowing rugby. Fakenham misfielded the kick off and put themselves under pressure from the start. C-ordinated well-executed defence kept Union from scoring. Fakenham then managed to clear their lines and launch an attack driving deep into the host's 22 when Norwich Union infringed. Dec Sperring took a quick penalty and feed Chris Glossop on a charge from 5 metres to score the try and Matt Bully converted make the score 0-7. Fakenham had to deal with the NU pressure until they managed to break out and take play into the middle of Union's 22 metre area, the home side infringed again to give a penalty, Matt Bully was accurate with the kick, 0-10. Union became persistent with their attacks and this resulted in a penalty but the kick hit the post and spun across the face of the posts and outside the other post for no score. In the

dying minutes of the half Union had a 5-metre lineout and with some good back and forth they managed to find an opening and score the try and with a successful conversion took the score to 7-10 at half time.
The second was scrappy from the start due in some part to the weather and trying to force the pace, knocks on or poorly executed breakdowns from both sides meant neither side hade control of the game. In one such breakdown Union gifted a penalty nearly 40 metres out and Craig White asked Matt to take a shot at goal. With the wind mainly behind Fakenham now, the kick was possibly in range and Matt hit a good strike to score the points 7-13. A backwards and forwards period of play followed with no clear advantage to either side until a union kicker put too strong a kick in straight in to touch to bring play back to just outside their 22 metre area but Fakenham knocked on in the line out the scrum was won by Union, the kick was fielded by Fakenham's Ben Swift who went on a charge and took play up to Union's 22 again and set the ruck, an infringement by Union gave Matt Bully another penalty kick 7-16. When Fakenham kicked, the chase by Sperring, Toher, Betts and Williamson was swift and usually caught the receiving player before making too much ground. These chases caused Union to concede yet another penalty, Matt Bully obliging 7-19. Fakenham were now reduced to 13 players (having lost one to injury earlier) when Dec Sperring was sent off for an alleged punch but only the referee seemed to see it. This time Fakenham's response was committed and forceful, after the forwards driving hard and winning an important ruck, the ball was moved to the backs who finished off the score, a great kick from the centre took the score to 14-19. The game fizzled out in another heavy shower with Fakenham attacking in the 22 metre zone when the final whistle blew, the final score stood at 14-19 and Fakenham's fifth win in the league.
The seconds do not have a game next week but hopefully all players will support the firsts in their Junior cup game against Swaffham.