Woodford 30 Norwich 26: Impressive second half comeback falls just short

Vivek Valmiki in the thick of the action for Norwich at Woodford Picture: ANDY MICKLETHWAITE

Vivek Valmiki in the thick of the action for Norwich at Woodford Picture: ANDY MICKLETHWAITE - Credit: Archant

This was certainly a game of two halves, with the high-flying hosts dominating the opening period.

By the break they had secured a try bonus point but the second half was a different story, with the visitors coming away with two points and very nearly pulling off what would have been a remarkable victory.

Norwich travelled with several familiar faces missing through work injury or unavailability. Second team captain Jonny Wheater was drafted in to play in the centre with Laurence Austin while David Micklethwaite played his first game of the season after being out with an ankle injury and it was as though he had never been away, so well did he play. Norwich's cause was not helped when his brother Rob strained a hamstring in the warm-up, meaning Conan Hoey had to moved to full-back and Martin Cullum came in on the wing.

Woodford went into a comfortable lead after 15 minutes, with tries by full-back Matt Farrington and wing Hylton Foster, the first of which fly-half Tom Redfern converted.

The ease with which they rounded the defence was worrying but after 20 minutes Norwich got on the scoresheet when Wheater burst through to score halfway out, with Theo Elliot landing the conversion.

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Woodford reacted with further tries from Harrington, converted by Redfern, and a second from Foster on the stroke of half-time, which went unconverted, to leave the score 24-7 in favour of the home side.

The first quarter of the second half saw a much better effort from Norwich and they were rewarded with an unconverted try from Austin after a period of concerted pressure. As the game went into the last 10 minutes Woodford kicked a penalty to make the score 27-12 but Norwich went straight back into their 22 and scored through scrum-half Robbie Bridgstock, who crashed over from a short penalty with Elliot adding the extras. Minutes later Norwich scored again when hooker Phil Buckley got over from short range and again Elliot landed a magnificent conversion from the touchline to reduce the deficit to one point. Unfortunately any chance of victory was killed off when Norwich were penalised in the last minute and Redfern landed an easy penalty.

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