Monday, September 17, 2012
Following a defeat to newly-promoted Holt last season Norwich were relieved to draw with newly-promoted Cantabrigians at Beeston Hyrne.
Cantabrigians’ scrum dominated the first quarter of the game. After the visitors missed a penalty in the first minute Norwich were unlucky to lose prop Horslen through injury four minutes later which may result in a lengthy absence.
After eight minutes Searley scored a try after a drive by the Cantabrigians scrum which Clague converted.
Eleven minutes later Ford scored another try after Norwich’s scrum were pushed backwards which took the score to 12-0 to the visitors, with Clague unable to kick the conversion.
Both tries had a look of inevitability as the large weight difference meant that Norwich were unlikely to be able to halt the drive legally. At this point it looked like Norwich were in for a long afternoon but almost like flicking a switch the tone of the game changed as Norwich realised they needed to play to their strengths.
Norwich then rallied and became a different team, moving the ball freely, using their backs. After a period of pressure Jordi Walker scored a try down the left where he side-stepped several defenders to touch down half way. O’Brien was unable to convert but the deficit had been reduced to seven points. With a minute to go to half-time Scott Hancocks ended another period of Norwich pressure by scoring close to the posts which O’Brien converted, bringing the scores level.
The scoreboard staff could have gone home at half-time as Norwich declined a kickable penalty and then O’Brien missed another. The hosts spent 75 pc of the half in the visitors’ 22 without being able to add to the score. Time and again Norwich were inches away from scoring but the visitors’ defence held firm.
The pre-season defensive practice Norwich against Peterborough came in very useful and the home support suddenly became anxious in the last five minutes after a rare lapse in their otherwise good discipline put Norwich under intense pressure in their 22. The nervousness of the five metre scrums returned but somehow Norwich held on and turned the ball, over relieving the pressure and mounting one final challenge themselves.
Whilst a draw was a reasonable reflection of a match where Cantabrigians had the stronger scrum and Norwich the stronger backs, the hosts may regret not taking one of the numerous opportunities they created at the end of the season. e of the numerous scoring opportunities they created at the end of the season.