South Woodham Ferrers 22, Norwich 16
Second placed Norwich lost to the London 3NE leaders in a match that was switched to a local school after the hosts' pitch was deemed unplayable.
The pitch was short of full size and was certainly lacking in width and did not suit Norwich's game plan to get the ball wide whenever possible.
Norwich were soon under pressure, being forced to concede a couple of penalties which the opposition kicked to the corner. However Norwich defended superbly and having survived the initial onslaught got themselves into enemy territory after 10 minutes. Centre Doug Greenwood made a good break and crashed over near the posts to make the opening score. Rob Micklethwaite added the conversion to give Norwich the early 7-0 lead.
The next 12 minutes were crucial as far as the final result was concerned. In that time Norwich conceded three tries none of which were converted. The first came when SWF's No 8 broke from a scrum to link with his right wing who fed the ball inside to centre Josh Leavey who score half way out. This was quickly followed by two more in the space of 10 minutes both of which came as a result of the Norwich defence being sucked in and leaving the resulting space on the flanks.
At half-time it was 15-7 to the home side and they were well worth their lead with Norwich struggling to get in the game.
The second half was a different story. Playing with the slope Norwich started to apply pressure of their own. Having spurned a couple of earlier opportunities to kick at goal Rob Micklethwaite reduced the arrears with a simple penalty before adding another to put Norwich very much back in the game.
Norwich were creating scoring chances and young left wing Jordi Walker was causing all sorts of problems but some unsympathetic passing meant the chances were not converted. As it was it was the hosts who increased their lead when they were given a penalty which was kicked to the corner. From the resulting lineout they rumbled over in the corner James Wilson to get the touchdown and Adam Brown banged over the conversion to make the score 22-13 in favour of SWF.
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With 10 minutes left Rob Micklethwaite kicked another penalty and it seemed as though Norwich might just nick the result before the final whistle. A break out of defence from Jonny Wheater who fed Walker nearly brought the vital score but the move petered out and with it chances of snatching victory.