Norwich 31 Rochford Hundred 23 – Bonus point claimed from tight battle
- Credit: Andy Micklethwaite
Norwich secured their second successive bonus point win of the season as they defeated Rochford Hundred at Beeston Hyrne in a real seesaw of a game in London 2NE.
Both sides were short of first choice players with the World Cup drawing them away and with Norwich carrying three injuries from last week's game.
It was a game that was not secured until five minutes from the final whistle but it was Rochford who drew first blood following a catalogue of indiscipline by the hosts. They hammered away at the Norwich line until inside centre Simon Ashton found a gap to the left of the posts and scored, Brett Smith converting.
Stung by this early setback, Norwich hit straight back. On 13 minutes from a lineout on the left Norwich worked the ball well through the hands for Martin Cullum to shrug off the attention of two defenders to go over in the corner.
Three minutes later Norwich scored in the left corner when a great break through the Rochford defence on halfway by Richie Rhodes set the Norwich backs flying with Michael Campton-Smith finishing well.
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Norwich's purple patch continued as three minutes later Cullum got his second try in similar circumstances to his first, in the right corner.
With only one of their usual front row forwards playing, Norwich were having difficulties against a big Rochford pack and they were penalised for wheeling the scrum within reach of the posts and the visitors gratefully accepted the three points for a 15-10 lead at the break, with Si Darby seeing yellow late in the half.
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Rochford were first to score in the second half following a problem at the Norwich scrum where they turned the ball over and worked it out to the right for full-back Jonathon Fitzpatrick to go over, Smith converting.
Seven minutes into the half, Norwich were awarded a penalty on 25 metres just to the left of the posts that JC Brown converted, nudging the hosts ahead 18-17.
Rochford restored their lead with a Smith penalty awarded for Norwich dragging down the maul.
It was Norwich's turn to score again, this time from a nicely-worked move that started with imprecision in the Rochford backs from a scrum. Norwich pounced and worked the ball wide, going through the hands for Laurence Austin to score in the corner.
The scores were levelled when Rochford were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and it began to look like a game of 'who blinks first'.
Norwich worked a penalty into the left corner and when the forward surge was held back the ball went out through the backs with Campton-Smith making a good run across the field, popping to Cullum who in turn fed Rhodes to finish in the corner for 28-23.
Brown calmly slotted a penalty to take Norwich two scores clear with five minutes remaining and the hosts worked hard to deny Rochford a losing bonus point.