Fringe men rise to the occasion
Norwich 46, Datchworth 17: Hertfordshire side Datchworth did not have the best preparation for this Senior Vase contest when two players and two coaches turned up half an hour after the scheduled kick-off time.
The match eventually started 45 minutes late and not surprisingly it was Norwich who were first out of the blocks with an early try by left wing Dan Coltman who took his chance superbly. Rob Micklethwaite added the conversion.
This seemed to wake up the visitors and they hit back with a try from No 8 Henry Mountain after Norwich had coughed up the ball in a tackle under their own posts. Fly half Sam Brunton had no problem with the conversion.
Norwich had several new faces in their line-up, with youngster Jordy Walker making his debut in the centre alongside skipper Johnny Wheater, playing out of position.
Up front Norwich soon claimed the ascendency both in the tight scrums and the lineout which functioned throughout superbly. It was no surprise when after 10 minutes Norwich scored a try from a rolling maul with flanker Simon Atkinson getting the touchdown. The try was not converted but Micklethwaite had kicked an earlier penalty to give Norwich the lead at 15-7.
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The visitors started to get back into the game and scored after 25 minutes after some inept handling by Norwich with full back Joe Richardson going over for Brunton to add the easy conversion.
Norwich, however, were starting to make their supremacy up front count and from a break by No 8 Craig Dunbar Dan Coltman scored his second try which Jay O'Brien converted. It was most unfortunate for the visitors that in this passage of play flanker Adam Hinton suffered a broken leg and was taken to hospital. This disrupted Datchworth and just before half time having watched his brother score two tries John Coltman ran in from some 75 metres to score. The conversion was missed to give Norwich a 13-point cushion at half-time.
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The second half was a stop-start affair with several changes in personnel on both sides with Norwich bringing on impact player Dan Gronland on the wing who is built like a backrow forward but has serious pace. Norwich were unable to score again until the 30th minute when full back O'Brien scored a wonderful individual try when he fielded a kick on his own 10 metre line and ran down the left hand touchline to score in the corner. aided by some indiffent defence. He even managed to convert his try from the touchline.
Dan Coltman scored his third try moments later after a flowing move which Wheater converted. Just before the final whistle Gronland again showed real pace to score out wide after an excellent break by Walker. The conversion was missed but the coaches will be well pleased with the performances of fringe players who have given them some selection headaches .