Norwich 5 Rochford Hundred 0 – One try enough as Norwich go fourth in London 2NE
- Credit: Archant
A solitary unconverted try from Norwich winger Martin Cullum was enough to settle a hard-fought encounter at Beeston Hyrne.
The old adage about it being a game of two halves was certainly the case with Norwich dominating the first half and yet struggling to get out of their own half in the second.
With both sides struggling with injuries it was always going to be a close encounter, with the visitors at the start occupying fifth place in the league and Norwich sixth, with just one point separating the teams.
Norwich started well but the visitors soon countered with promising attacks of their own, with some stout Norwich defence keeping them out. As the game approached the second quarter Norwich turned up the heat and created a number of chances, with breaks by Jonny Wheater from fly-half and scrum-half JC Brown, who played well throughout, controlling proceedings with some intelligent kicking out of hand.
With a minute of the half left Norwich had nothing to show for their efforts with some poor handling and passing outside causing them to waste gilt-edged chances until in the 39th minute Cullum was put over in the corner. Brown could not manage the difficult conversion.
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The second half was a different story with the visitors very much in charge. It appeared the Norwich lead was totally inadequate as the visitors piled on the pressure but the home defence remained firm. After 15 minutes skipper Gareth Leake was replaced by Pip Scott who went into the front row with Peter Hoskins moving back to the second row in Leake's place.
This seemed to make no difference to the tight scrums where Norwich seemed to have the edge. Leake had been suffering with flu all week and was not feeling too good.
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After 24 minutes Rochford's full-back Adam Ashton had a straightforward penalty chance from some 35 metres to reduce the arrears but he pushed it wide.
Eventually Norwich worked their way into opposition territory and looked quite capable of scoring from a rolling maul but just as they seemed to get there they gave away a penalty.
With some six minutes left and Norwich hanging on to their slender lead flanker David Micklethwaite was yellow carded for hanging onto the ball on the deck.
This meant a tense final few minutes for the supporters as Rochford threw the kitchen sink at the home defence which stayed intact until the final whistle, leaving Norwich in fourth place in the league table.