Norwich RFC drop into relegation zone after 33-10 defeat to Rochford Hundred
- Credit: Archant
Norwich dropped into the relegation zone with a heavy home defeat which flattered their visitors Rochford Hundred, who are chasing for promotion.
With a strong wind behind them Norwich had the upper hand for much of the first half. After a sustained period in their opponents' territory they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which Rob Micklethwaite to make it 3-0.
Eight minutes later a sustained drive by the visitors' forwards resulted in fly-half Ashton breaking through weak tackling to score a try under the Norwich posts which he converted, giving Rochford a 3-7 lead.
Norwich rallied and again camped in the visitors' half but kept giving away penalties which frustrated their attacks. One of these led to Mark Fernie being sent to the sin bin but the yellow card was probably awarded against the team rather than for his individual indiscretion.
Within a few minutes Rochford exploited the numbers difference and an injury to David Micklethwaite to enable open side flanker Corbett to score a try after a break by Ashton which the latter converted. This gave the visitors a 3-14 points lead.
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However Norwich had not finished their first half effort and Richard Rhodes capped a promising debut with a try after a storming run from David Byrne, Norwich's Man of the Match, and some slick handling from the backs. Rob Micklethwaite kicked the conversion and the home side completed the half with a deficit of only four points.
The next 28 minutes were largely remarkable for a bitter wintry storm followed by bright sunshine. Both sides launched attacks which were stoutly defended but this all changed when Norwich captain David Micklethwaite was forced to leave the field.
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Within a minute Ashton ran through the gap that Micklethwaite had sealed all afternoon and scored under the posts. He again converted his try, taking the score to 10-21.
Two further Norwich attacks following runs by Gareth Leake and Rhodes were unsuccessful as the ball was lost forward and a pass did not go to hand. Five minutes from time Rochford's right wing Baker ran through weak tackling to score the visitors' fourth try and give them the bonus point they sought. In the last minute Rochford's outside centre Stewart seized on a Norwich passing error near their line giving him the chance to score and Ashton the chance to kick another conversion which took the score to 10-33.
As a result of the defeat Norwich slipped a point below Stowmarket, who beat Basildon to boost their own chances of survival.