Norwich turn on the style to make progress in Vase

Norwich 41, Barnet Elizabethans 7: Norwich served up a rugby feast at Beeston Hyrne on Saturday to reach the third round of the London and SE Senior Vase.

They got off to the best possible start straight from the kick-off. The ball was moved swiftly wide and left wing David Smillie was put away and he is a lethal finisher given space.

He raced in from the halfway line to score in the corner. Jay O'Brien could not convert the score in difficult conditions for kickers.

Norwich immediately conceded a penalty which winger Adrian Todd missed for the visitors but Norwich made a hash of clearing the ball and were immediately under pressure from the unforced error.

However they defended well and got back into the opposition's half with some good handling from both backs and forwards, helped by scrum half Chris Sawford's excellent distribution and his combining well with man of the match, No 8 Simon Darby.

After a good build-up and excellent ball retention, not always Norwich's strength, skipper John Wheater went over under the posts, enabling O'Brien to add the simple conversion.

At this stage it was all Norwich and two more tries before half-time from second row George Pope from a line-out which was not converted and from David Micklethwaite after a fine pass from Sawford, which was, put Norwich 24-0 up at the interval.

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It was, however, the visitors who started the second half more brightly and after a clash of heads which saw second row Gareth Leake and Sawford laid out, Barnet scored a very good try when full back Glyn Bayley took full advantage of Norwich's disarray and touched down for Todd to add an excellent conversion.

As Josh Ives replaced Sawford, Barnet threatened to get back in the game but good defence kept them out as Norwich reasserted themselves.

On 15 minutes Leake scored after some good handling, with Norwich taking advantage of a Barnet knock- on on the 22 metre line. The conversion was missed. Moments later Wheater scored his second try close to the posts and O'Brien made no mistake with the conversion.

Just as Norwich looked as though they would overwhelm the visitors, flanker Paul Micklethwaite got a yellow card and this briefly disrupted them, but not for long. Jon Snowling and Aaron Swanborough came on as replacements in the front row which re-established Norwich's supremacy up front. From a scrum just inside the Barnet 22 Darby picked up a loose ball to score halfway out to wrap up the game. The try was not converted.

Norwich return to league action next Saturday with a home match against East London and after this vibrant performance the coaches may have some selection headaches.

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