London 2NE: Campion 20 Norwich 24
- Credit: Archant
Norwich managed to achieve what neither of the top two sides have done this season when they snatched a dramatic last gasp win at Campion which has moved them up to fourth in the league.
The visitors made most of the early running with some great open rugby with superb off-loading and support play.
The first try came from a great break by Neil Dunleavey in midfield with ball being worked out to the right for Laurence Austin to cut back inside and then pop to Martin Cullum to touch down in the corner. Shortly afterwards Campion were awarded a penalty in front of the posts converted by Rory Crisp.
Norwich scored next in unusual circumstances when a penalty kick failed to make touch and Campion attempted to kick the ball back downfield. The ball hung in the wind and bounced perfectly for Richie Rhodes to gather it and score underneath the posts. Ben Girling converted.
Campion came fighting back and a quick tap penalty resulted in Olly Waugh touching down underneath the posts, giving Crisp and easy conversion.
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Then a combination of great skill and poor tackling allowed a quick break which ended in Rob Pile scoring out wide. The conversion was missed and the game was nicely balanced at 15-12 at half-time. Norwich scored next following a sparkling passage of play that culminated in Gareth Leake powering down the hill and crashing through a tackle to score half way out on the right.
Campion hit back immediately, putting the visitors under intense pressure, and from a five metre lineout set up a driving maul that resulted in a try out wide for Crisp, who missed the conversion.
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With time running out and Campion 20-17 in front, they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. To the surprise of the crowd they decided to shun the easy kick and put the game out of Norwich's reach in pursuit of a bonus point and kicked for the corner. Norwich dug deep and halted the maul and won a turnover.
Campion won another penalty straight in front of the posts shortly afterwards and again went for the corner but once more Norwich held them at bay, gradually working play down the hill to earn a scrum 24 metres out for what was undoubtedly their last chance of the game. They seized their moment and worked the ball to the right for winger Callum Macaulay who popped inside for Nick Austin to go over running round to the posts. Girling kicked the conversion and Norwich had won a tense and pulsating game of rugby through grit and determination.