Rugby Union: Norwich put selection problems behind them to claim excellent away win
- Credit: Archant
Norwich travelled to Epping with only seven of the side that defeated the hosts at Beeston Hyrne before Christmas.
Injuries and unavailability combined to leave Norwich without key players, including influential No 8 Laurence Austin, second row Simon Darby and place kicker Theo Elliott.
The players who stepped up from the Lions did an outstanding job, none better than Stewart Cameron who had a great game at fly-half in difficult conditions. The pitch was heavy and the rain and wind were relentless.
Norwich played with the elements in the first half and took the lead after eight minutes when a break by Cameron was finished off by centre Nick Austin, who scored by the posts for Mike Lawton to convert. Epping soon got into the game and some indifferent defence saw Dan Jones score half way out.
After 30 minutes Norwich scored again when an attempted kick at goal from Lawton dropped short but was knocked on near the line. From the ensuing scrum Robbie Bridgstock went over and again Lawton added the extras. With half time looming Norwich added to their tally from a rolling maul, with Cameron getting the touchdown. Again Lawton added the conversion and at half-time the visitors led 5-21.
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In the second half Norwich were totally dominant and made light of the conditions, putting on a consummate display of attacking rugby with some great handling of the wet ball. Lawton scored a great try after two minutes and added a second after a lovely move down the left wing, again adding the conversion.
The Epping cause was not helped when their scrum-half Archie Unstead was yellow carded for foul play. The penalty was kicked to the right hand corner and from the lineout No 8 Ryan Bigland went over, Lawton adding the conversion.
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Epping got a consolation try, again from Jones, but Norwich scored immediately from the restart through a superb take by flanker David Micklethwaite which was finished off by Lawton. As full time approached Epping tried to clear the ball from their 22 but the kick was charged down by Conan Hoey who followed up to score and Lawton converted to round off a thoroughly satisfactory afternoon for Norwich.