Late try at Rochford Hundred keeps Norwich top of London 2NE
- Credit: Andy Micklethwaite
Norwich sealed a dramatic victory with Joe Tennant's try in the final play of the game in what was a tough encounter.
Rochford opened the scoring with a penalty from fly-half Adam Ashton but the leaders fought back and were awarded a penalty of their own wide on the right which was missed. They kept the pressure on, however, and from another penalty wide on the right the visitors opted for a scrum and worked the ball out to the left where Tennant stood up his opposite number before hitting the gas again and outpacing him to the line. The conversion was missed.
Almost immediately Rochford struck back when a pass across the Norwich backs was intercepted by left wing Sam Edwards who scored under the posts to leave Ashton with an easy conversion.
The Norwich cause was not helped with half-time approaching when skipper Gareth Leake received a yellow card. At a Rochford scrum Norwich then had to draft in centre Dougie Greenwood to defend against a push-over try. The hosts worked the ball down the blind side for right wing Matthew White to go over in the corner and with the kick was missed half-time came with the home side 15-5 up.
Immediately after the break Norwich scored when Dave Micklethwaite charged down a kick in midfield from Ashton which he collected and fed out via Michael Campton-Smith and Peter Hosking to Lawrence Austin to score half way out. Jonny O'Brien's kick unluckily bounced off the crossbar before Leake returned from the sin-bin.
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The home side had the advantage of both territory and possession in the second half but still could not score as the visitors defended superbly.
Norwich put together some good passages of play with strong runs by Jordi Walker, Jonny Wheater and Campton-Smith applying pressure in the Rochford 22, earning them two penalties. O'Brien could not land the first but succeeded with the second. It seemed unlikely that Norwich would get another opportunity to score as Rochford kept the play in the visitors' half but Norwich fought their way out and in the dying minutes knew that they had one last chance to win the game.
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Micklethwaite drove forward to take play to within 20 metres of the line and the forwards worked it over to the right, creating space on the left. The ball came out and a lovely weighted pass from Wheater gave Tennant the chance to show his pace and score in the corner. O'Brien missed the conversion but the final whistle blew and Norwich had retained top position.