Greene King Eastern Counties Division One leaders West Norfolk’s ‘ugly’ success pleases boss

West Norfolk boss Nigel Richardson feels his table-toppers are excelling because they have learnt how to win ugly.

The Greene King Eastern Counties Division One league leaders face a lengthy trip to Mersea Island tomorrow off the back of a gritty 20-15 home win over Harwich & Dovercourt. The North Wootton club were forced to dig deep for their eighth league victory of the term and Richardson is confident such triumphs can only stand his men in good stead as the title race hots up.

West's boss said: 'It was a hard-fought battle. We have lost a couple of key players to injuries but if you talk to anybody in rugby, all teams lose players at this time of the year.

'It was hard-fought as we played a game to suit them and not in our own style because we had one or two players, who are pacy, missing. We are known for our pace and we didn't have it and they (Harwich) noticed it pretty quickly.

'But we won and that's the main thing. We've had some scrappy wins in the last few games that last season we wouldn't have won. We've learned how to dig in deep, battle away, and play games for the full 80 minutes. If we keep doing that then things will hopefully keep going our way.'

West have one game in hand on second-placed Ely, who sit on the same points, and both are just one ahead of Newmarket – the only side to beat Richardson's troops this campaign. They visit a Swaffham team whose six-game unbeaten run came to an end at the weekend.

The Gatehouse Lane outfit travel to the Islanders, eighth, boosted by the return of winger Jake Richardson and Ross Biggs, substituted at the weekend with a broken nose. Alex Singleton is unavailable, James Williams (shoulder) is out for the rest of the campaign through injury while Brad Cook may miss out through work commitments.

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'Mersea Island is always a tough place to go to,' said Richardson.

'It would be nice to move ahead of Ely but to be honest I'm not really looking or thinking about our opposition. I'm more concerned about ourselves. I'm more worried about how our players perform. James' injury is a big blow as he's a huge lad and a good influence in the dressing room. But it'll be good to have Jake and Ross back.'