Wheater try is scant consolation for Norwich RFC during defeat at Saffron Walden RFC
- Credit: Archant
Norwich played some of their most entertaining rugby of the season in the first half on Saturday – but still came home empty handed.
The home side signalled their intent from the start when hooker Matt Girling, who had jumped to secure the ball, was tackled heavily before he had returned to earth. The Norwich pack were playing well and securing some good ball for the backs. When the ball was kept in the pack Norwich made some good ground and from one move drove the ball upfield for at least 20 metres.
Despite a reasonable degree of possession Norwich couldn't break through, although both Austin and Greenwood made several drives into the Walden half. From a line-out a move was called which led to a short pass being given to Hosking who drove for the line but he was tackled and driven into touch which enabled the home side to clear their lines.
Walden were particularly dangerous on the counter-attack and used their backs to good effect. From a clearance kick up field the ball was fumbled by the Norwich defence, Walden won the line-out and drove in field where Norwich were caught offside and the penalty was converted.
There was an opportunity to level the scores shortly afterwards when Walden were penalised for collapsing a scrum but Brown missed.
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Norwich conceded a penalty for the same offence shortly afterwards and closer to the posts but the decision was taken to run the ball, which was lost in the tackle and Walden countered. There was an injury to Dave Micklethwaite, playing at 10, who was hit by a late tackle following a Norwich scrum, but unfortunately the referee was unsighted, having been following the play.
Wheater fielded a high ball and broke through to put Acorn away who evaded a couple of tackles before being bundled into touch on the Walden 22. The Saffron Walden backs made excellent use of what ball they had and from a move which spread the defence across the pitch scored to make it 11-0 at half-time.
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The second half saw Norwich under pressure as the Walden backs made some good breaks but were kept out by sound defence. The Norwich line-out was functioning well with both Darby and Fernie securing some good possession, but this couldn't be converted into points as the Walden defence was proving difficult to breach.
Walden scored a fine try from their outside centre who evaded several tackles to score near the posts, Norwich kicked off and conceded a further try immediately following a good passage of interplay between the Walden forwards and backs.
At this stage it would have been easy for the visitors to give up but they responded well and Wheater scored a fine try from a pass by Micklethwaite, Brown missing the conversion. Shortly afterwards they pressured the Walden full back into carrying the ball back over his try line and won a five metre scrum. The scrum collapsed and was reset and the visitors were then penalised.
Walden were pressing hard for the bonus point try, which came in the last quarter of the game as tackles were being missed.
Once again Norwich played well at times, but need to convert the opportunities they have before the chance to move up the table is lost.