Norfolk draw 19-19 with Cambridgeshire to clinch regional title
PUBLISHED: 08:20 18 January 2019
Norfolk took home the Tri-Counties Championship trophy after a thrilling 19-19 draw against Cambridgeshire at Ely on Wednesday evening.
After a late Cambridgeshire comeback had taken the hosts to within touching distance of the title, Norfolk scored late on to tie the match and take the spoils due to a superior points difference, with both sides having beaten Suffolk earlier in the season.
The away side, coached by Dave Brunton and made up of representatives from seven different clubs, started the game the brighter of the two sides, churning out phase after phase in the opening 10 minutes in an attempt to breach the Cambridgeshire defence.
The breakthrough eventually came with just over a quarter of the game gone. Good phase play from the Norfolk backs saw the ball eventually shipped out wide to Norwich’s Jason Hynd who stepped past his man and showed a clean pair of heels to the home full back to crash under the posts.
They scored again 15 minutes later with a another well-worked try via Rudyard Gant, another Norwich representative, and saw it out until half-time to take in a useful lead of 14-0.
The second half began in major reversal, with Cambridgeshire now posing the questions to the Norfolk defence who held out for the most part in the early stages.
Time progressed and the hosts managed to find their way through, with second row Matt Woods making the hard yards to break the defensive line and touch down under the posts.
Cambridgeshire continued their resurgence and gave themselves a wonderful chance of victory with another two scores in the second half, courtesy of hooker Jim Storey and No 6 Ben Stapleton.
With the former try unconverted, it still left Norfolk in with a chance of spoiling the home party by crossing again. They took this opportunity, playing for the crucial score until the final moments when Hynd crossed again for the game leveller, much to the frustration of the home crowd.
The game was up at 80 minutes, with the final score of 19-19 called. This in turn meant that due to their superior final result against Suffolk at Wymondham in December, Norfolk took home the prestigious Eastern Counties Cup Trophy.