East London 20, Norwich 40
Norwich moved a point clear at the top of London 3NE after returning from London with a hard earned victory.
The visitors were in no doubt that this was a game that had banana skin written all over it. East London were without a win in the league and conceded 97 points at Wisbech the previous week with a weakened side.
Norwich started well but a dropped pass in the middle of the park saw them having quickly to defend. From a five-metre scrum with Norwich under pressure the home No 8 crashed over for the first score which was converted.
Norwich hit back with a well worked score after a great run by right wing Jordi Walker which saw centre Scott Hancocks go over under the posts for scrum half JC Brown to add the easy conversion to level the scores. Norwich were struggling in the tight scrums and it was no surprise when the home side went further ahead from another five-metre scrum when their right wing went over in the corner.
Norwich regained the lead when Hancocks again scored after great work by Rob Micklethwaite on the wing. Brown had no problem with the easy conversion. The visitors were still struggling up front and when East set up a five-metre scrum just before half-time there was something inevitable about the pushover try which gave them the half-time lead, despite missing the conversion, by 17 points to 14.
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Norwich reorganised their pack at half-time. Mike Currie came on in the front row, George Pope moved from prop to the second row, Mike Hindle came on as hooker and Simon Darby dropped back to No 8. This certainly provided Norwich with much needed ballast and provided the basis of a much improved second half display.
It was quite clear that if Norwich got the ball wide they had the beating of their opponents outside and so it proved. Despite East increasing their lead with a penalty 10 minutes into the second half it was all Norwich for the rest of the game.With the forwards at last providing quick ball Hindle crashed over in the corner to reduce the arrears after 18 minutes.
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Brown couldn't convert but a few moments later he compensated with a well taken try after another great Hancocks break which he converted to give Norwich a 26-20 lead.
Two further tries followed from Dougie Greenwood and that man Hancocks after a delightful kick ahead from Rob Micklethwaite, both of which were converted, to put Norwich at the top of the table albeit by only one point.