Norwich come away empty-handed from a game they should have won
- Credit: Archant
After their excellent performance against Saffron Walden a fortnight ago, Norwich supporters were looking forward to the match at Wanstead, which has not been a happy hunting ground in recent seasons.
Norwich dominated the early exchanges but were unable to turn that into points and Wanstead gradually drove them back, aided by the number of penalties they gave away.
Following a breakout, Norwich stormed into their opponents' 22 and were rewarded by a Mike Lawton penalty after 15 minutes.
Wanstead camped close to the Norwich line and after a succession of pick-and-go drives, scored a converted try to give them a 7–3 advantage after 21 minutes.
Three minutes later Jason Hynd was yellow-carded for offside as the referee ran out of patience with the number of penalties Norwich were conceding.
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With a player short Norwich were unable to stop a backline move in the 28th minute which enabled the Wanstead left wing to break through an attempted tackle and kick ahead to beat Norwich's cover defence. The try was unconverted.
For the next 12 minutes each side had periods of ascendency which culminated on the stroke of half-time in a penalty award and a yellow card for a Wanstead player. The kick was missed and the half-time score stood at 12-3.
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Norwich failed to make their numerical superiority count, although they played almost entirely in the Wanstead 22. After 16 minutes, Robbie Bridgstock took a quick penalty and went over to score, the conversion making it 12–10.
Norwich spent most of the rest of the match in the Wanstead half, but knock-ons, poor options – including not kicking for goal when penalties were awarded – a weak lineout performance and some errant passing meant they never managed to cross the line again.
In the last minute a penalty awarded to Norwich was at the edge of Mike Lawton's range and faded with the wind and passed the left-hand post.
This was a game that Norwich should have won.