Stowmarket 14 Norwich 20: Fine away performance seals fourth straight win

Jonny Payne leads the charge for Norwich at Stowmarket on Saturday Picture: ANDY MICKLETHWAITE

Jonny Payne leads the charge for Norwich at Stowmarket on Saturday Picture: ANDY MICKLETHWAITE - Credit: Archant

Norwich produced a strong performance at third-placed Stowmarket to record a fourth straight win in London 2NE.

With the stiff breeze behind them the visitors started well and nearly all the early play was in Stowmarket's half.

After 14 minutes Mike Lawton converted a penalty to open the scoring after he had missed another effort from further out.

Ten minutes later Stowmarket reminded Norwich how dangerous they can be on the counter-attack, with flying left winger Dotun Ogunkayede outstripping the defence to score a try, which was unconverted.

In the 28th minute Norwich loose head prop Jason Hynd suffered a nasty ankle injury and was replaced by Pip Scott. Then, as Stowmarket attempted to run the ball out of defence, the ball carrier was stripped of the ball and after a series of phases by the Norwich forwards Scott scored a try, which Lawton converted.

Just before the end of the half some excellent work caused Stowmarket to hang on to the ball for too long on the floor and Norwich were awarded a penalty which Lawton converted to make it 5-13 at half-time.

With the wind now in their favour Stowmarket reduced the arrears with a penalty just six minutes after the restart. Norwich attempted to respond with a penalty of their own but the touch judges couldn't agree if it was converted or not as it swirled high above the left upright.

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In the 20th minute Stowmarket kicked another penalty, taking the score to 11-13.

Norwich supporters breathed more easily seven minutes later when Conan Hoey scored a try for the visitors after a break by Lawton, which the latter converted to take the score to 11-20.

For the remainder of the game Norwich showed their growing maturity as ball retention was significantly improved and their scrum dominated their opponents, including using it when penalties were awarded to them rather than risk the vagaries of the line-out in the windy conditions.

In the dying seconds of the game Stowmarket were able to convert a penalty opportunity which gave them a losing bonus point, taking the final score to 14-20.

It was a good win for Norwich, who were beaten 39-24 in the home fixture back in September. Both teams now have 46 points but Stowmarket remain third as they have won one more game.

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