South Woodham Ferrers 19, Norwich 24 – City outfit dig deep for a well deserved victory
- Credit: Archant
That Norwich came away with five points from their trip to South Woodham Ferrers had as much to do with their titanic defensive performance when reduced to 13 men as to the four tries they scored.
as much to do with their titanic defensive performance when reduced to 13 men as to the four tries they scored.
Playing on a school pitch, with the hosts' own surface unplayable, Norwich scored first with a try on five minutes. Showing great vision, Stewart Cameron, who was playing out of position on the wing, called for the quick throw from Michael Campton-Smith and made good ground down the left before passing back to Campton-Smith who evaded the tacklers to score in the corner.
South Woodham Ferrers then had a period of intense pressure but Norwich refused to yield and took play back to half way. Then, from a line-out 15 metres out, they set up a drive that was collapsed just short of the line but prop Pip Scott picked up and dived over for Norwich's second try. This time the conversion from Ben Girling went over.
Both teams were reduced to 14 men shortly afterwards as, following an altercation, Simon Darby and Lewis Gilbert were both given 10 minutes in the bin.
The hosts kicked to the corner from the resultant penalty and threw to the front of the line from where David Bull crashed over to score an unconverted try.
The home side were first on the board in the second half when Norwich were penalised for crossing and fullback Jack Reeve took the penalty in front of the posts on halfway which was well within his range on the small pitch. Another moment of indiscipline shortly afterwards at the breakdown from Norwich resulted in an easy kick for Reeve to narrow their deficit to just one point.
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A difficult period continued when Norwich were caught offside and Reeve accepted the opportunity to put his team into a two-point lead. Norwich finally started to exert some pressure and worked the ball over to the left where, from a five metre line-out, Matt Selby was driven over to score. A great kick from Girling went over from near the touchline.
The lead was extended when Dave Micklethwaite intercepted a pass on halfway and, fending off a last-ditch tackle, scored just to the right of the posts.
Norwich then incurred the displeasure of the referee when Scott was carded for not rolling away. He was followed a minute later by Girling for not retreating 10 metres following a penalty. Reduced to 13 men, Norwich looked to be in real trouble but they stood firm and repulsed the South Woodham attacks with some outstanding tackling.
With eight minutes remaining and with Scott and Girling back from the bin, Selby was carded for hands in the ruck. This time the home side worked the numbers and winger Greg Tye touched down near the corner.
With the score standing at 19-24 and Norwich still down to 14 men, the hosts threw everything into one final assault but knocked on as the tackles came pounding in, to end the game.