Friday, January 24, 2014
West Norfolk have been warned not to take struggling Crusaders lightly as they look to keep up their title challenge.
The Greene King Eastern Counties Division One leaders have huge games coming up in the next fortnight against Battersea Ironsides in the Junior Vase and second-placed Newmarket in the league.
However, Nigel Richardson insists his troops must be on their game tomorrow to ensure they are not on the end of a shock upset.
West’s boss said: “We just focus on one game as it comes. If you take your eye off the ball, and start looking at a longer period, things can tend to go wrong.
“We won’t be taking Crusaders any differently to anyone else. It’s a small pitch there and if conditions, as expected, are wet and muddy it will not suit our expansive style of rugby while they have much bigger forwards.”
The North Wootton side reclaimed top spot with a gritty 24-8 win at Ipswich YM on Saturday while Newmarket were without a game.
With a series of injuries and unavailabilities, West arrived with a much-changed line up, particularly up front in the forwards. This saw a first start for Brad Cook at prop, with Conor Tuck, Dan Stephenson and the Rust brothers; Max and Henry, all coming into the starting pack.
The away side started slowly and went 8-0 down before Jake Richardson crashed over and Brad Cook converted to make it 8-7. Their side’s cause wasn’t helped however when Sam Moses became the third West Norfolk player to fracture his collar bone this term.
With Ipswich beginning to give away penalties, West took control and captain Lawrence Savage dived over twice to make it 17-8 before the interval.
In the closing stages, and chasing a try-bonus point - Ollie Ridout burst down the left to score his first senior try with Joe Butt adding the extras. Now they’ll look to do the same again in Norwich this weekend.
Richardson added: “Sam Moses will definitely be out. He thinks he’ll be back in three weeks but I don’t think that’s overly realistic.
“Brad Cook came off at the weekend with a glut strain but that was more of a precaution than anything. So with Peter Clift coming back we should almost be at full strength.”
Swaffham, fifth, return to action tomorrow when they entertain seventh-placed Mersea Island following a weekend off from Eastern Counties One action.