Old Brentwoods 16, Norwich 29
- Credit: Archant
Norwich won this London 3NE game with a bonus point thanks to a fine second half performance full of character and dogged determination.
As the first half unfolded there was no indication that this might be the final outcome.
Norwich quickly found themselves three points down after giving away a penalty which George Watson had no trouble in converting.
After 10 minutes on a very slippery surface Norwich scored an excellent try finished well by right wing Jay O'Brien after full-back Jonny Wheater had made a fine break. Scrum-half JC Brown added the simple conversion. Norwich dealt with the restart badly giving away a penalty which Watson missed.
The big OBs pack were beginning to make their presence felt and certainly getting on top in the tight scrums. Also Norwich were having difficulty on their own line-out ball. As a result Norwich struggled for possession and it was no surprise when OBs set up a rolling maul from which No 8 Chris Keogh scored half way out. Again Watson missed the kick.
When Norwich did get the ball the backs were looking dangerous but possession was hard to come by. They were a bit unfortunate when a promising move broke down inside the OBs half only for the ball to be hacked through by OBs centre Toby Sheahan who touched down. Again Watson missed the kick. However just before the break he kicked a penalty to put the home side in front by 16-7 at half time.
Norwich coach Simon Hill made three changes at half-time, bringing on Joe Riches at prop, Scott Norman in the second row and Doug Greenwood in the centre. Norwich began to secure their own ball and scored in the first minute of the half. Prop Peter Hosking made a break after a great drive from the forwards through the middle and Riches was on hand to take the ball on and score under the posts to give Brown an easy conversion to put Norwich back in the game.
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Although it was another 20 minutes before Norwich scored again it is fair to say that OBs were rarely threatening thanks to some magnificent defence and some real grafting from the forwards, who despite losing second row Simon Darby with a nasty cut above the eye were holding their own and wearing down the opposition.
After 30 minutes Norwich were awarded a penalty about 35 metres out on the left of the posts which Brown calmly kicked to give his side a one point lead. Watson had an opportunity to regain the lead for OBs but his kick went wide.
Norwich wrapped the game up with two great tries. Wheater made another fine break down the short side to put O'Brien over in the corner for his second try. Brown added a magnificent conversion from the touchline.
From the restart Norwich took the ball up and then spread it wide for centre Scott Hancocks to make a break and put Wheater over half way out on the left but this time Brown could not manage the conversion.
This was Norwich's best away performance of the season and bodes well for next week's difficult trip to Wanstead.