Norwich 12, Wisbech 3
- Credit: Archant
A combination of the appalling weather and a determined show from the visitors to avoid relegation meant that Norwich had a far harder ride on Saturday than perhaps had been anticipated by their supporters if not by the players.
Norwich started brightly and had all the early pressure but could not convert it into points, sometimes incurring the wrath of referee Doug Cooke, giving the visitors relieving penalties.
Wisbech started to demonstrate that they were not there to make up the numbers on the Alan Harvey 'Back to Norwich' day set up to commemorate the very popular president who died prematurely in 2000.
Having weathered the early Norwich storm they started to play some good football and created several line breaks ,with Norwich having to do some desperate defending. The Wisbech cause was not helped when after 18 minutes their No 8 was shown a yellow card. Norwich missed the resulting penalty but made amends shortly afterwards with a good try scored by prop Joe Riches after a drive from the forwards following a lineout inside the visitors' 22. Winger Rob Micklethwaite duly added the conversion.
Wisbech again came back at Norwich and were rewarded with three consecutive penalties, all within kickable range. Two of these were missed but the third attempt was successful as half-time approached, the score at the interval being 7- 3 in Norwich's favour.
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The second half certainly belonged to Norwich who dominated for long periods but again the snowy conditions were not conducive to fast flowing rugby though considering the weather some of the handling was of a high quality.
In particular Jay O'Brien, playing out of position at fly-half, caught some less than sympathetic passes which quite reasonably would have resulted in knock-ons.
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After 20 minutes of the half Norwich took a quick penalty and the ball was moved neatly by the backs for full back Jonny Wheater to go over in the right hand corner. Micklethwaite could not make the difficult conversion.
There was no further score and Wisbech were barely in the Norwich half again and did not help themselves with two late yellow cards.
Norwich remained top of the league but South Woodham Ferrers who are second had their game postponed which means they now have two games in hand on Norwich. Norwich need three more points to secure promotion but have two tough away games to finish the season, travelling to Beccles in a fortnight and then Cantabrigian on the April 13.