London 2NE: Norwich 20 Chelmsford 54
- Credit: Archant
Norwich dominated the early stages of this game but with five first-choice backs out it soon became clear that if the visitors spread it wide it would be a difficult afternoon and so it proved.
High-flying Chelmsford opened the scoring after nine minutes when Josh Cavey broke from a maul inside the Norwich half and was on hand to finish the move.
Fly-half Simon Hoult, the outstanding kicker in the league, had no trouble with the conversion.
Norwich hit back immediately when, from a delicate Jay O'Brien chip behind the defence, centre Michael Campton-Smith got the touch down near the posts. Full-back JC Brown missed the conversion.
Chelmsford increased their lead after 22 minutes with a try from centre Adam Cunnah who scored under the posts for Hoult to add the easy conversion. As the interval approached Norwich reduced the arrears with a try from a rolling maul set up from a lineout just inside the visitors' 22, with flanker Stewart Cameron getting the touch down. The conversion was missed.
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However the visitors scored again with a simple try from a lineout with full-back Jamie Ash showing great pace to round the defence and hand on to centre Jamie Morrish to score near the posts. Hoult added the conversion to leave the score at 10-21 at half-time.
Chelmsford effectively wrapped the game up in the first 10 minutes of the second half with tries by Cavey and Morrish, both of which Hoult converted. After 13 minutes the visitors scored again when Hoult kicked ahead and Ash raced onto the ball which bounced nicely into his arms to score a try which was again converted by Hoult.
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There were still 20 minutes left with Norwich well aware that they could still get a four-try bonus point. They managed to do this with prop Matt Selby going over from a lineout and moments later replacement prop Philip Scott doing likewise from a rolling maul, Norwich's most potent weapon set up from yet another lineout. Both tries went unconverted.
However it was the visitors who emphasised their superiority with late tries by replacement back Ben Susan, the second of which was converted by Hoult.
Norwich have a week off before their next game at Basildon by which time they will hope to have some more players fit to back up their forwards, who performed admirably at the weekend.