Norwich recover from early lapse to maintain impressive start
- Credit: Archant
Norwich made it three wins out of three after coming through their toughest test so far.
For the second time in as many weeks, Norwich found themselves seven points down in the first minute when a poor clearance landed in the hands of winger Hilton Foster who ran the ball into the corner for Tom Redfern to convert.
Stung into action Norwich dominated the rest of the half and a long penalty attempt by Theo Elliott drifted just wide before the hosts hit back. With the forwards having done the hard yards, the backs finished off wide on the right where Martin Cullum, with plenty of work left to do, scored, leaving Elliott to add the conversion.
Elliott was on the scoresheet himself next, following an excellent break by Nick Austin who timed the final pass well for him to finish off near the posts. He converted his own try.
Norwich continued to dominate and when a poor clearance kick from Woodford failed to make touch Conan Hoey fly hacked the ball forward and beat the retreating cover to pick up and score his debut try in the left corner. Elliott's kick was unsuccessful but Norwich went in at half-time 19-7 up and seemingly well in control.
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Woodford had other ideas though and their big pack, in particular, raised their game at the same time that Norwich seemed to relax.
They were awarded a penalty in front of the posts that they successfully kicked and then came straight back at Norwich from the kick-off, aided by some weak tackling, and played a tight pick-up-and-drive game, spinning out of the maul to score in the corner. The kick was missed.
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Norwich forced play deep into Woodford territory where they applied relentless pressure, resulting in Laurence Austin going over in the left corner with Elliott adding an excellent conversion.
With their bonus point secure Norwich just needed to close out the game with five minutes left but had to do so with 14 men as the mounting home penalty count resulted in Dave Micklethwaite going to the sin bin. Woodford kicked the penalty, confident that they had enough time to add to their tally, but the home defence held firm.