Swaffham RUFC 40 Watton RFC 8: Friendly clash allows teams to experiment

Action from a friendly between Watton and Swaffham. Picture: Lee Woodward.

Action from a friendly between Watton and Swaffham. Picture: Lee Woodward. - Credit: Lee Woodward

Watton travelled to Swaffham for a friendly development fixture, with both featuring a mix of first and second team players.

From the first whistle Watton took the fight to Swaffham, who started with a strong backs lineup. Within five minutes, Swaffham were penalised for holding on and punished from the awarded penalty when Ben Blewitt slotted the three points.

Swaffham kept the pressure piled on but Watton remained resolute in defence and managed to disrupt their chances, forcing the passes or dropped balls.

The skill level of the Swaffham side started to shine through on the 30-minute mark when Marc Lockwood broke through and skittled the Watton opposition out of his way to score converted points just right of the posts.

This marked the opening of the floodgates, with Swaffham having the upper hand in the loose with a number of runners gaining large amounts of territory and running in two more converted tries to leave Watton reeling and the half-time score at 21-3.

The second half saw Watton's pressure on Swaffham paying off, holding the home side at bay for a further 25 minutes, before Swaffham's man of the match, Lockwood, and his side showed their class and took control by running in another three tries, two of which were converted.

A consolation for Watton came when Michael Stickland chipped through, chased and caught the bouncing ball and grounded in the right-hand corner for the unconverted points and the final score of 40-8.

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The game proved a tough test for Watton but Swaffham provided the calibre of opposition they needed before their top of the Merit League clash next weekend with Diss at Dereham Road.

Swaffham return to their EC1 campaign at home to Ely looking to continue their winning ways, not losing in the league since late September.

The only negative of the match was the unfortunate injury to Nathan 'Moley' Watson, who was taken to hospital in an air ambulance after a nasty collision with Swaffham's Liam Bradley.

Watson was airlifted to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for x-ray checks but was released later that night after the all-clear, other than two broken ribs and muscle damage.

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