South Woodham Ferrers 38 Norwich 0 – All change as Norwich are blown away


- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2007

Norwich travelled to Essex expecting a muddy pitch and a mighty forward battle against South Woodham Ferrers in London 2NE.

To their surprise the pitch was in excellent condition following drainage work in the summer – but Norwich forgot their forward battle and were found wanting.

The cause was not helped by the withdrawal through injury of both centres, Raven and Wheater, which meant that Campton-Smith and Parrott moved in from the wings and Cullum and Tristan Smith took their places on the wings.

Norwich won the toss and elected to play with the strong wind that was blowing across and slightly down the pitch. The first 10 minutes saw the game move from end to end, with several handling mistakes and far too many penalties by both teams.

Early in the game the ref had to call the two captains together and read the riot act. This seemed to galvanize Norwich and they pressurised the Ferrers line, but each time they ended up with a penalty or a dropped pass.

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The strong wind was either holding the ball up as it was passed into the wind or drifting forwards with the wind. This period of pressure took its toll on Norwich and they allowed SWF back into the game.

The deadlock was broken when Norwich were penalised for not rolling away and Gurney kicked the penalty. From the restart the ball didn't go 10 metres and from the resulting scrum the hosts set up several phases of play before captain Lindsey crashed over and Gurney added the conversion to make it 1-0 at half-time.

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Norwich needed a good start to the second half, but instead the kick-off went straight out. From the scrum the ball was moved to the right where their burly winger was starting to make inroads after being contained in the first half by some brave tackling from debutant winger Smith. Two quick drives around the rucks saw Doyle crash over for the try, Gurney adding the conversion.

Norwich again made the mistake of kicking the ball straight into touch which allowed Ferrers to play deep into Norwich territory. From a Norwich scrum the home scrum-half stole the ball at the back and broke before feeding the winger to score wide out. Gurney added the points to give the hosts a 24-0 lead.

With 20 minutes remaining Norwich threw caution to the wind and tried to run everything from deep in their own half, but SWF were determined not to concede. From a Norwich ruck the ball was turned over and moved to centre Storie who skipped over for a try under the posts, Gurney added the points, and the final score came from the winger again, Gurney adding the extras.

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