Norwich suffer first defeat of season as poor first half spell proves costly

Theo Elliott sets up a Norwich attack during their narrow defeat at harlow. Picture: Andy Micklethwa

Theo Elliott sets up a Norwich attack during their narrow defeat at harlow. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite - Credit: Archant

Norwich were left to rue a poor spell in the first half as they suffered their first defeat of the season, at Harlow.

The visitors started this match as they had their previous two games, by conceding an early score, with fly-half Dan Smith converting an early penalty.

Norwich hit back almost immediately with an opportunist unconverted try from full-back Chris Parrott who picked up a loose ball just inside the Harlow half and outpaced the defence to score in the right-hand corner. Smith had an opportunity to get the lead back for the home side but his penalty kick went wide.

Norwich, at this stage, appeared to be the dominant side and it was Parrott again who finished off some great work from the forwards to score under the posts with Theo Elliott having no trouble with the conversion.

Harlow had had a problem in the first quarter with their ball retention, but a penalty from Smith put them back in the game and this seemed to galvanise them.

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In the last quarter of the half they scored four tries, which left Norwich a mountain to climb in the second half. Norwich could not get their hands on the ball to exert any sort of control which, with some poor defence, allowed the home side to lead at the interval 32-12.

Norwich, to their credit, came straight back in the second half and at the end of the day should have probably won the match.

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They scored two tries in the first 20 minutes of the second period, both from rolling mauls after penalties had been kicked into the corner and both of which were converted by the excellent boot of Elliott to reduce the arrears to six points.

A great break by replacement flanker Jake Wharton should have brought rewards, but came to nothing through lack of support. Harlow turned the ball over and centre Andrew Tarsley scored to deliver what was the killer blow.

There was still time on the clock for Norwich to retrieve the situation and they added a further score again from a rolling maul and Elliott added the conversion with five minutes remaining.

It looked then as if Norwich were going to pull this one out of the fire, but it was not to be, although the two losing bonus points provided a consolation in defeat.

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