Norwich now one win away from promotion
- Credit: Archant
Norwich coach Simon Hill called for one final push from his players after they had taken another big step towards promotion on Saturday.
Hill's side overcame a spirited challenge from Wisbech to clinch a hard-earned 12-3 victory at a bitterly cold Beeston Hyrne and move five points clear at the top of London 3NE with just two fixtures left to play.
With two sides going up all eyes are on Upminister in third position and despite their thumping victory over already relegated East London at the weekend they are still eight points adrift of the leaders.
That means Norwich need three points from their final two matches –at Beccles and Cantabrigians – to ensure a move up the rugby union pecking order, always assuming of course that Upminster notch bonus point successes in their final games.
Hill had one simple target after watching his side grind out a four point win in appalling conditions – a victory of any kind in his side's next league game at Beccles on April 6.
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'We might well go up with a couple of bonus points but I have told the players not to think like that,' he said. 'We need to focus on winning our next match and that will make our position secure.
'We have got two tough away games to come but if you are going to get promoted those are the sort of challenges you must overcome.'
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Hill was pleased with the way his men made their final home game count in a front of a big crowd at the annual 'Back to Norwich' day, when former players return to the club to play a game of rugby, meet old friends over lunch and honour the memory of the late Alan Harvey, a former club president.
'The conditions were very tough and it made it very difficult for us to throw the ball around, which we wanted to do.' he said. 'It was about getting the result first and then taking the bonus point if it came. I would have liked five points but I will take four. We were up against a tough, determined side in Wisbech and the most pleasing thing for me is that they didn't cross our whitewash. We defended really well, everyone worked hard for each other, and we have got to make sure we take that into the next game.'
Hill has been impressed with the progress his side have made this season as they look to bring a level of rugby to Beeston Hyrne that befits a city the size of Norwich. We have got a very young side and I am very proud of the way they have performed so far this season,' he said.
'We have had one or two injuries to contend with, some of them serious, while a few players have left, but we have recruited from within, we haven't got anyone in from outside. Youngsters have been given their chance and have stepped up to the plate, which shows the development programme we have here is really supporting the first team.
'I think we deserve to be playing at a higher level but I suppose a lot of clubs would say that. We have got to earn the right to do that out there on the pitch.'
South Woodham Ferrers remain slight favourites to take the London 3NE title, standing as they do five points behind Norwich but with two games in hand. With an afternoon off looming Norwich will certainly be keeping half a eye on their rivals' next fixture, a tough trip to Cantabrigians on Saturday.