Swanborough’s double has Norwich smiling

SaffronWalden 13, Norwich 21Norwich travelled to Saffron Walden buoyant after their convincing win over Colchester last week. Strengthened by the return of Gareth Leake, they were confident of another strong performance.

SaffronWalden 13, Norwich 21

Norwich travelled to Saffron Walden buoyant after their convincing win over Colchester last week. Strengthened by the return of Gareth Leake, they were confident of another strong performance.

A poor clearance kick from Walden gave Norwich an early

line-out opportunity close to the opposition try-line. A classic catch and drive followed, with vice-captain Swansborough collecting his third try of the season. Flanker Ives scored the conversion.

Walden then failed to make the required 10 metres from the kick-off, giving Norwich a scrum on the halfway line. Norwich won the ball and quickly moved downfield towards the Walden line. Some good recycling of the ball set up a ruck 10 metres out and, with scrum half Jack Marczewski caught in the melee, fly half Ball stepped up and struck a drop goal to take the visitors 10 points into the lead.

Norwich then took their foot off the pedal and allowed Walden to take control for the next 10 minutes. They were caught slowing down the release of the ball and Walden took the penalty quickly and centre James Uppingham scored. The conversion was missed.

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A deep restart from Norwich saw Walden set up a maul. A slow pass to fly half Hughes saw Norwich's dynamic hooker Swansborough charge down the clearance kick and collect the ball to score again.

Walden counter-attacked from a Norwich kick and again the visitors were caught slowing the ball down. The ball was released from the penalty to Spinney who evaded the Norwich defence to score in the corner. Just before half-time Norwich were awarded a penalty inside the Walden 22 metre line and Ives stepped up and slotted the three points to make it 18-10 at the break.

The second half was much more fragmented, with several stoppages for injuries stopping the continuity of the game.

Some excellent lineout work by Norwich helped move them up the pitch before Walden infringed too many times and hooker Jones was shown the yellow card. Ives scored the penalty.

Unfortunately, with 10 minutes to go, two Norwich players were shown the yellow card within 30 seconds of each other. Hughes scored the penalty for Walden to reduce the deficit to eight points.

Norwich then mustered all their strength and the six-man pack held their own against the full strength Walden eight, allowing the Norwich backs to clear the ball and run down the clock.

Coach Mel Evans commented afterwards: "The boys stuck together and won the war of attrition. We dominated the set pieces, which demonstrates the hard work in training."