Saffron Walden 17 Norwich 7
- Credit: Andy Micklethwaite
Norwich had enough possession to have secured a win against the London 2NE leaders but some poor decision making at crucial times allowed the home side to secure the points.
The visitors had the early advantage in the scrums and drove almost to the line, only to see play brought back for a knock-on.
When the home side gained possession they looked dangerous and moved the ball well across the three-quarters, stretching the Norwich defence, which managed to hold them out.
The visitors had the first opportunity to score when from a quickly taken tap penalty from scrum-half Ben Girling the ball was moved across the backs. Saffron Walden were penalised for going over the top, allowing Jonny O'Brien the opportunity to take a shot at goal from within the 22 which was missed.
The home side were now galvanised into action and spread the ball wide from a line-out to outpace the Norwich defence to cross the line. The ball was judged to be held up and a scrum awarded to the home side and they drove the ball before creating space to cross the line under the posts, with the kick being converted.
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Norwich responded well and there were some good passages of interplay between the forwards and backs, with Callum Frost and captain Gareth Leake making some good drives, but Saffron's defence held firm.
The second half could not have started in a worse way for the visitors when from the kick-off the ball hit a forward in the chest and bounced into the arms of a Saffron Walden player, who gratefully accepted the gift. He set up the ruck and the ball was moved across the field for a score in the corner which was also converted to make it 14-0.
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The pressure was now all on Norwich and it was against the run of play when a pass across the face of the Norwich posts was intercepted by Richie Rhodes on the five-metre line and he ran the length of the pitch to score. Against a strong wind Chris Parrott converted the kick.
Norwich now upped their game and almost scored again, only for the ball to be dropped in the tackle, enabling Saffron to clear their lines. The hosts played their way back upfield and were awarded a penalty for Norwich going over the top at a ruck which was converted to complete the scoring.