Norwich 26, Bancroft 12

Norwich bounced back from their defeat at Wymondham with a hard-fought win – but know they will have to play better than this if they are to challenge for honours, with one or two difficult away trips to come.

The early exchanges belonged to the visitors, with Norwich looking as though it was they who had endured a long journey rather than their opponents.

In the first 10 minutes Norwich struggled to get their hands on the ball and it was all Bancroft deserved when their number eight Francois Nell chased a kick ahead to outpace the defence to the touch down.

The referee needed confirmation that he had scored from Norwich touch judge John Drinkill before the conversion was missed.

This seemed to stir Norwich into action and despite playing into a stiff breeze they laid siege to the visitors' line but could not get across it, with silly errors and some stout defence preventing a score.


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However just before half-time a well worked move saw left wing John Coltman take an inside pass from fly-half Jonny Wheater to score under the posts to give Rob Micklethwaite an easy conversion and Norwich the lead at the break.

Just after half-time Norwich increased the lead after a good break by Josh Ives.

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Hooker JJ Waters sprinted on to a somewhat speculative kick ahead to outpace the cover to score halfway out. The try was not converted.

Norwich then made a couple of substitutions, with veteran George Pope making way for Ethan Treble-Westlake in the second row and Tom Whiskin for youngster Lewis Ball in the front row.

Without Pope's bulk Norwich started to struggle a little in the tight scrums.

However Norwich increased their lead after half an hour with a try from Aaron Swanborough, who got the score after a rolling maul had been set up from a lineout

Rob Micklethwaite landed the conversion to give Norwich what should have been a comfortable lead. However the visitors were not finished and sensing Norwich's discomfort in the tight started to put them under pressure and from a five metre scrum their number 12, who looked lively throughout, strolled through some indifferent defence to score under the posts.

The try was converted to leave Norwich with an uncomfortable five minutes plus injury time.

Norwich not only weathered the storm but got back into enemy territory and after some great handling, which had been missing at times, flanker Simon Atkinson went over by the posts for Rob Micklethwaite to convert and wrap the game up for Norwich.

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