Holt make mark to top the league

Norwich 5, Holt 25: Norwich welcomed newly promoted neighbours Holt to their first ever league fixture at Beeston Hyrne. The visitors elected to play with the strong wind and following a fluffed chance in the opening minutes Iain Youngs gave Holt the lead with a penalty after six minutes.

Six minutes later Rob Micklethwaite also hooked a penalty attempt for Norwich which he was never given the chance to redeem.

Norwich then fell foul of the referee with Simon Darby being sent to the sin bin for the use of a knee after twenty-six minutes. Iain Youngs took advantage of the resulting penalty to take Holt into a 6-0 lead. Five minutes later Rob Micklethwaite incurred the referee's displeasure and was sin binned for a late tackle. Holt took advantage of playing against only 13 opponents when Richard Justice broke through to score in the thirty-fourth minute, although the conversion was not successful. At half-time Holt were 11-0 in front.

Norwich supporters hoped that with the wind behind them their team would get back into the game but within minutes of the restart the wind dropped dramatically and no longer represented an aid to gaining territory. The third quarter was highly forgettable with the referee spotting numerous infringements by both sides resulting in a stop-start game with little flowing play.

Following a long breakout run Jay O'Brien scored a try in the corner at the beginning of the fourth quarter which gave Norwich hope even though he was unable to convert it. Two minutes later those hopes were dashed when the Holt forwards stripped the ball in a maul and Iain Youngs broke through the Norwich defence to score a try near the posts which he subsequently converted.

For the next few minutes Norwich pressed hard and had a number of opportunities to cross the Holt line but dogged defence kept them out. With five minutes to play Josh Ives took a quick penalty close to the Holt line. His pass was intercepted by Graham Ilsely who ran the length of the pitch to score a try under the posts which Iain Youngs converted taking the final score to 5 – 25 in favour of the visitors.

Despite the change in the elements Holt thoroughly deserved their win as they dominated much of the play and Norwich will need to find greater aggression and passion next week, when they visit other near neighbours Wymondham, if their aspiration to be in the promotion mix at the end of the season is to be realised.