Turner's double boosts Norwich
Thurrock 10, Norwich 27: The conditions at Thurrock, with sunshine and a steady breeze, were conducive to a good game of rugby to be played by these two teams with the same number of league points.
The conditions at Thurrock, with sunshine and a steady breeze, were conducive to a good game of rugby - and it was Norwich who came away with the points.
Thurrock adopted a pattern of play that involved their forwards picking up and driving the ball into the Norwich defence. With captain Jon Bugg in the forefront, all the Norwich forwards showed their ability to cope with the tackling duties that were required.
After seven minutes the Thurrock pressure forced Norwich to concede a penalty for offside which Luke Getreaux converted.
The visitors responded to this setback in fine style as Arbuthnot broke into the Thurrock 22m area where a penalty was conceded. Aidy Ball was pressed into service as goal kicker and to his own relief converted successfully.
Norwich were now putting great pressure on the home side, particularly in the set pieces. Leake won a lineout and the inevitable rolling maul covered the required 18 metres before Turner pulled the ball clear and scored to give Norwich a 3-8 lead after 19 minutes.
Thurrock were not to be out-done and with pick and drive phases they drove back to within close range of the Norwich line. From a five metre scrum skipper White bulldozed over for a try that Getreaux converted to give Thurrock a 10-8 lead.
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The Norwich response was to expand their game. This led to a lineout which saw the forwards execute another excellent rolling maul and Turner scored his second try. Ball showed his growing confidence by converting from a tight angle.
After the break Norwich had an unsuccessful penalty attempt and a try disallowed after the Thurrock defence was deemed to have just forced Jonny Statham to touch the side line on his way in to score.
Norwich now brought on Haydon Cocker to replace O'Sullivan but the pack remained unchanged. Dolding took a catch at the tail of the lineout and fed Swanborough on the peel. The young prop forward drove 15 metres into the Thurrock defence, the forwards won the second phase and the ball was moved swiftly to the left.
Statham was not to be denied this time and he drove between two would- be tacklers to ground the ball. With the second half 18 minutes old Norwich now had a 10 point lead.
The Thurrock supporters were encouraging their team who responded with many varied attacks but the Norwich defence held firm and occasionally broke back.
The home attacks became more frantic but the Norwich control of the set pieces and resolute defence prevented any scores. From the breakdown of a Thurrock attack Ball saw a huge gap behind their defence and put in a long punt for David Smilley to chase. The pace of the winger and a kind bounce enabled him to score under the posts and Ball duly added the conversion to give Norwich a 27-10 lead with only five minutes of normal time left to play.
The visitors conceded a number of harsh penalties but when the home team elected to kick for lineout position they invariably lost possession. After five extra minutes of play, Norwich were able to claim a well deserved victory, which was the result of great individual performances and a collective team effort.