Norwich cruise to victory over a lacklustre Bancroft
BANCROFT 5, NORWICH 26: After a faltering start to their campaign Norwich will be happy with a maximum points haul from their trip to London following their win last week against Wymondham.
Norwich dominated the game both in territory and possession, with the pack providing a solid platform throughout.
With 10 minutes gone, the pressure told as winger Andy Webb kicked ahead for fly-half Jonny Wheater to chase through and just beat the defender to touch down in the left corner. The conversion was missed.
After 25 minutes Bancroft came back into the game, mainly as a result of penalties as Norwich lost a little composure. But the pack stuck to their task and the backs prevented their opposite numbers from making their rare possession count with some solid tackling cutting them down before the moves got started. Norwich held out until half-time as Bancroft's stand-in kicker, their fly-half having gone off injured, failed to hit the target with either of his penalty attempts.
Second row powerhouse George Pope was substituted for Jon Bugg at half-time, with Freddie Cook moving up into the second row.
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Captain Aaron Swanborough was first to score in the second half as a Norwich caught the ball from a line-out on the 22 and set up a maul that Bancroft pulled down short of the line. The referee played advantage and Swanborough picked up, spun out of the tackle and dived over, with Rob Micklethwaite adding the conversion.
Norwich continued to apply pressure and the back row chased a kick forward that Bancroft carried over their own line. From the resulting solid scrum Norwich moved the ball quickly for Wheater to step past his man on the greasy surface and stroll over between the posts, leaving Rob Micklethwaite an easy job to add the points.
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Stung by this score, the home side fought back and after they missed another kick at goal, Sean Davis got a try wide on the left from a tap penalty but the conversion was missed.
After 60 minutes man of the match Paul Micklethwaite made way for Simon Atkinson, who continued the energetic disruption work that the Norwich back row had demonstrated all game, partnering veteran blind side Jon Bugg and Ross Adnitt.
This season's return of seasoned second row campaigner Gareth Leake has been a welcome boost to Norwich and he celebrated with a well finished try. The ball was moved out wide and then, through excellent support play, worked back in field for him to score under the posts, with the conversion added.
Norwich will have much sterner tests than this ahead of them but in terms of the rebuilding process this was a positive step in the right direction.