Norwich 24 Charlton Park 32: Dreams of national cup glory are dashed
- Credit: Archant
Despite exiting the RFU Cup, Norwich performed much better against Charlton Park than had done the previous week against lesser opposition in Ipswich.
The hosts opened the scoring with a penalty from Theo Elliott after five minutes but spent most of the rest of the half defending against a far bigger pack that pounded their lines relentlessly.
The visitors went ahead through a couple of penalties from Connor McDonald and got their first try when space finally opened up after some brave home defending and No 9 Alan Knuckle had an easy stroll through for another seven points.
A penalty try was later awarded when Norwich were punished for collapsing the scrum on five metres and the half-time whistle blew with the score at 3-20.
After the break Charlton Park again used their backs sparingly, relying heavily on the same three big runners battering their way through, leaving Norwich struggling to get some possession to work with. Eventually they started to exert some influence and a score resulted from some patient phase play, with Nathan Wilson diving over to score. Elliott managed to land a tough kick to further reduce the deficit.
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Stung by this score, the visitors penned Norwich back and from a five metre lineout they increased their lead with a driving maul finished off by hooker Ed Mason.
Norwich then profited from a yellow card following a sustained period of pressure and Jack Walsh dived over for the try. Elliott added the points to bring the hosts back into contention at 17-25. They then committed the fatal error of allowing their opponents to hit back immediately when failure to gather the restart put them under intense pressure, resulting in a try under the posts.
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Norwich hit back again with another try for Walsh in the final minute after a patient build-up and Elliott added the extras, ending an entertaining but ultimately fruitless afternoon.
The hosts had found themselves against a much heavier pack and only found the intensity they needed in the last 20 minutes. Whilst that was a disappointment, it was a big improvement on the Ipswich defeat. They know only one team in their own league, Rochford, comes close to the physical power of their visitors and they lost their divisional semi-final 47-8 to Camberley.