Norfolk 60 Suffolk 19: Hosts turn on the style at Wymondham Rugby Club’s new home

Norfolk line up for a team picture at Wymondham Rugby Club, where they took on Suffolk in their open

Norfolk line up for a team picture at Wymondham Rugby Club, where they took on Suffolk in their opening county fixture of the season Picture: NORFOLK RFU - Credit: Archant

Norfolk turned in a commanding performance to see off neighbours Suffolk 60-19 in the first representative match to be staged at Wymondham Rugby Club's new Barnard Fields ground.

On a chilly night a large crowd braved the weather to catch the action as the traditional inter-county rivalry was renewed.

Suffolk, having lost to Cambridgeshire in the first match of the series, had to beat Norfolk to maintain any interest in the competition but the hosts, having picked a strong team, had other ideas.

Norfolk attacked from the outset and it was obvious they intended to run the ball whenever possible. This approach proved fruitful and with plentiful supply of good ball from the line-outs, with Simon Darby (Wymondham) excelling, and scrums, which Norfolk dominated with a strong front-row of Jason Hynd (Norwich), Oli Coleman (Wymondham) and Dane Canning (North Walsham), points were rapidly accumulated.

Louie Cooke (Norwich Medics), making his debut, worked well with his backs to keep the Norfolk team on the front foot.

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Veteran captain Bruce Van Poortvliet (Holt) again demonstrated his ability to move the ball quickly from scrums and rucks and was always alert for an opportunity to produce one of his sniping runs.

Suffolk stuck to their task and put their bodies on the line in defence but struggled to contain the black and gold of Norfolk and were relieved to hear the half-time whistle.

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Norfolk resumed having used all their replacements and Suffolk came back into the match as the hosts initially struggled to regain their fluency.

However, normal service was soon resumed as the Norfolk replacements settled in.

Norfolk now head to Ely in January to take on Cambridgeshire in a game which will determine who will hold the inter-county bragging rights for the season.

Among the officials watching the game was Wymondham life member John Meen, who has been involved in Norfolk rugby since the 1950s. The oldest surviving president of Norfolk RFU, he received honorary life membership of the organisation from current president John Baines.

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