Four wins on the trot for Norwich

UPMINSTER 6, NORWICH 29: Norwich recorded a fourth straight win to continue their rapid rise up the London 3NE table.

The visitors were asked to play with the elements in the first half and knew that they had to make the most of the opportunity. They set about the job with energetic enthusiasm and following an infringement at an early scrum were awarded a penalty that fullback Rob Micklethwaite kicked.

The game took an unexpected twist after 10 minutes following a deep leg laceration injury to an Upminster player, almost certainly caused by a sharp object in the pitch, and the game was switched to the spare pitch which was exceptionally small.

Both sides had scoring opportunities but neither finished well, although several Norwich players had good individual runs at the Upminster defence without reward. Norwich were awarded a penalty for a player being offside at the scrum that Rob Micklethwaite kicked, although he missed a subsequent kick.

From the 22 metre restart George Pope caught the ball and set an attack moving that found Freddy Cook coming into the line as the link, giving Clark Hindle space to go over in the left corner. The conversion was missed and Jamie Pavent got the Upminster score moving on the stroke of half-time with a penalty in front of the posts.

The hosts scored first after half time with a penalty that galvanised Norwich into action, with the scrum really putting the squeeze on the heavier home pack. Prop and product of the Norwich youth system, Lewis Ball, impressed on his front row debut at loosehead, with Tom Whiskin moving from there to hooker in the absence of JJ Waters.

The visitors were patient in the build up to their next try, driving and re-setting, making good use of the backs, where Ives and Wheater are now working well together at 9 and 10, and pounding away at the solid Upminster defence. The pressure told and man of the match Aaron Swanborough was on the end of the final move.

Most Read

Norwich really picked up the tempo at this point and ran the ball out from defence, with some excellent off-loading and support play making space for speedster Scott Hancocks to scorch through the line and score. The conversion was missed.

Upminster mounted some spirited attacks but the Norwich defence was rock-solid and possession was turned over frequently, leading to more Norwich attacks up the hill in search of the bonus point, with Ross Adnitt often leading the charge.

All the late pressure was from Norwich and they will consider themselves unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty try as Upminster first stood up at a five metre scrum under their posts and then collapsed the drive from the reset as Norwich forced them back over their line. From the second reset the ball was passed short to Hancocks who blasted over the line but the pass was adjudged to be forward.