Rochford Hundred 101 Norwich 3: Leaders show no mercy to below-strength visitors

Pip Scott attempts to set up a Norwich attack during a tough afternoon at Rochford Hundred. Picture:

Pip Scott attempts to set up a Norwich attack during a tough afternoon at Rochford Hundred. Picture: ANDY MICKLETHWAITE - Credit: Archant

Norwich travelled to the league leaders on Saturday with 14 members of the first team squad unavailable owing to illness injury or other commitments.

They knew that they might be in for a difficult afternoon and so it proved.

Two forwards making their debuts, prop Viv Valmiki and Jason Hynd in the second row, did well enough but outside especially, in the second half, Norwich were taken apart and could not live with Rochford's pace.

Their cause was not helped when centre Nick Austin was helped off the pitch with a head injury after 15 minutes. Coach Jay O'Brien took his place.

For the first 20 minutes Norwich competed and actually dominated the first quarter, taking the lead with a penalty from Theo Elliot playing in the unfamiliar position of scrum-half. They also should have scored a try in the right-hand corner but the chance was squandered. After this it was one-way traffic.

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Rochford effectively had the game wrapped up at half-time, leading 26-3 at the interval having scored four tries in the second quarter, three of which were converted.

The second half started with more of the same. Once Rochford realised that they had the measure and more of Norwich outside the scrum they just cut loose, running the ball from anywhere on the pitch, and it has to be said they were outstanding despite the defensive efforts of Laurence Austin and David Micklethwaite, who tackled their hearts out.

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Rochford scored 75 unanswered points in the second half with 11 tries, only one of which went unconverted.

After the game Rochford learned that they were champions and on this display one can see why. Norwich drew some comfort from the fact that, despite several regulars being called on by the first team, the Lions won 97-0 against West Norfolk II and the thirds won 33-17 at Wymondham III. The victory in the double header fixture saw Norwich through to face Diss in the Norfolk Salver final on the same day Norwich face North Walsham in the Senior Cup.

Norwich remain third in the table, two points ahead of Wanstead, and need to win their final game of the season at Chelmsford next Saturday to ensure they stay there.

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