Newmarket 28, Norwich 26
Norwich went into this crucial fixture knowing only their best would be good enough against a side notoriously hard to beat at home – and ended up losing a tight game.
At times Norwich showed flashes of brilliance, but there were signs of naivety too and lessons will need to be learnt if they are to continue their promotion challenge.
From a Norwich perspective, there was an ominous sign early on as Newmarket demonstrated their forward power with a 30 metre rolling maul, creating the space for their inside centre to cross the line.
Norwich responded to this setback positively and after a good catch and drive at a line-out, Josh Ives fed the ball wide for Scott Hancocks to crash over. In the line-out, Gareth Leake and Paul Micklethwaite were prominent as Norwich built some excellent phases, culminating in a what was probably the try of the season for Jay O'Brien. Norwich looked confident and full of running but lapses in defence cost them dearly as Newmarket went in at the break 17-12 ahead.
Newmarket had soon extended their advantage with another try but Norwich's character started to show through as they battled back into the game.
Hancocks was denied a second try as the referee called him back for a technical infringement but the pressure eventually told. A powerful burst by veteran lock George Pope created mayhem and from the next breakdown, a blindside break by Josh Ives created the space for Ethan Trebble Westlake to canter over.
Next on the scoresheet was O'Brien with his second try of the afternoon after a quick line-out caught Newmarket by surprise.
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Early in the second half, history was created at Norwich with the three Micklethwaite brothers (Paul, Rob and 17-year-old Dave) appearing for the first XV at the same time.
However, rather than closing the game Norwich allowed Newmarket back into with several uncharacteristic defensive errors and the home side kicked a penalty to give them a two point lead with 10 minutes to play.
Deep into injury time, Norwich were awarded a penalty some 35 metres out but while Rob Micklethwaite had the distance he didn't have the accuracy and his kick drifted agonisingly wide.