London NE2: Norwich 45, Braintree 5

Neil Dunleavey crashes over for Norwich. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite

Neil Dunleavey crashes over for Norwich. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite - Credit: Archant

This was a game Norwich had to win against a side which leaked 88 points the previous week against Saffron Walden.

The Braintree travelling faithful said that the side they put out on Saturday was much stronger than the tean that played the week before. When they scored first straight from the kick off that indeed seemed to be the case. The visitors attacked the short side and second row Wes Apps got the touchdown with the game a minute old. The conversion was missed.

Norwich got straight back in the game but as has happened in the past they created one or two chances but did not convert them into points. However, after a period of pressure in the visitors' 22 from a penalty taken quickly No. 8 David Byrne went over for Rob Micklethwaite to land the conversion from half way out. Immediately from the restart prop Joe Riches set off on a barnstorming run shrugging off defenders to find second row Simon Darby in support. He gave Darby a perfect pass for the second row to score under the posts to give Rob Micklethwaite an easy conversion.

With half time looming Norwich got the score they wanted when centre Dougie Greenwood barged his way over under the posts to give Rob Micklethwaite another easy conversion to make the score 21-5 at the break.

Norwich started the second half in much the same fashion they had started the first on the back foot but good defence kept out their opponents who to their credit spurned kickable chances and went for the corner. Norwich got back into their opponents' half after being awarded a penalty. From the ensuing lineout Norwich got a driving maul going which they did to great effect throughout the game. From this second row Mark Fernie touched down for Rob Micklethwaite to add an excellent conversion.

Norwich turned the screw with a fine individual try from full-back Jonny Wheater who collected a stray kick out of defence and ran down the touchline to score in the corner. Rob Micklethwaite for once missed the conversion. Two further tries wrapped up the game for Norwich with Riches going over after another Wheater break and Neil Dunleavey who had come on as a replacement on the wing scored after a good run from skipper David Micklethwaite playing out of position at fly-half but doing so more than competently. Neither of these tries was converted.