Lawton in thick of action as Norwich claim hard-fought win

Robbie Bridgstock in the thick of the action during an impressive display for Norwich against Harlow

Robbie Bridgstock in the thick of the action during an impressive display for Norwich against Harlow at Beeston Hyrne. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite - Credit: Archant

This was a hard-fought contest between the fourth and fifth placed teams in the league, with Norwich coming out on top.

The hosts did not help themselves in the early exchanges by making some unforced errors and giving away penalties.

Referee Ed Odell was particularly strict on both sides in the tackle area and as a result Norwich barely got out of their own half for the first 10 minutes and had to resort to some desperate defence to keep out a determined Harlow side.

When they eventually got into opposition territory Norwich scored with a penalty from some 40 metres kicked by Michael Lawton.

Norwich continued to defend well and gradually came more and more into the game. After 20 minutes they increased the lead with a try by Lawton after a lovely break by Theo Elliott, playing at full-back, and he added the conversion. Despite looking as though they would increase their lead a combination of some stout defence and Norwich errors meant the score at the break remained 10-0.

Harlow were first out of the blocks on the resumption and scored an converted try through centre Scott Whitby after five minutes.

Again Norwich did not help themselves when second row Nathan Wilson was yellow carded for not rolling away after a tackle. However scrum-half Robbie Bridgstock then took a tap penalty just inside the Harlow half, made ground and found Lawton free outside him and the centre m scored under the posts. Elliot added the conversion to make the score 17-5 as the game entered the last quarter.

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Norwich were now on top and looked as though they would score from a rolling maul which Harlow collapsed and the referee awarded a penalty try.

Norwich no doubt had in mind a bonus point as they pursued a fourth try but were not helped by a second yellow card, this time for Simon Darby.

In fact with Norwich down to seven forwards they were under pressure and it was Harlow who completed the scoring when they too were awarded a penalty try in the dying moments of the game. Norwich know they will have to play better if they are to compete against the likes of Sudbury and Wanstead in the coming weeks.

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