West Norfolk 22
West returned home with a bonus point victory after making the long journey over to Wanstead on Valentine’s Day for this rescheduled league fixture.
Due to a number of unavailabilities the visitors travelled with a much-changed side. This gave deserved senior recalls to Rory O’Sullivan, Ollie Ridout, Peter Clift and Will Greenwood, as well as a chance to blood the exciting colt Harry Mahoney at centre.
Arriving to find the pitch conditions marshy and non-conducive for West’s running style, the visitors were further frustrated as Wanstead held up the kick-off for 10 minutes.
At first glance, it appeared that this only had the effect of galvanising West’s cause, but they began to stutter in the initial stages as they struggled to obtain some quality ball.
This allowed Wanstead to get the upper hand and crash over for their first try of the day and a 5-0 lead.
As the midway point of the half approached, West were able to break free when winger Jake Richardson ran in at the right corner to level the scores. However, Wanstead reacted swiftly and a combination of powerful running and poor tackling allowed them to crash through from close range to go ahead 12-5.
No.8 Max Rust broke away from the scrum and cut through the midfield defensive line from the Wanstead 22 to go over, Monty Maule slotting the conversion to leave honours even at 12-all at half-time.
The second period continued in similar vein with West showing glimpses of stepping up a gear, only to be thwarted just as they began to look dangerous. Wanstead were able to put West under some pressure with a solid defence and were rewarded with a third try to regain the lead at 17-12.
The game then became even more disjointed as Wanstead had two sin bins in quick succession as they began to tire and infringe at the tackle area, which was a consequence of the fast game West were attempting to play.
West took advantage and, following some half breaks from the likes of full back Alex Singleton and second row Will Dodds, they were able to set winger Richardson up for his brace as the visitors once again drew level at 17-all.
As the final few minutes of the match played out West went on the attack and came close on several occasions, with Edward Maule being stopped inches from the line.
Finally, West were able to strike when some quick ball out to the backs saw Harry Mahoney power through to hand West a hard earned, if a little scrappy win.
Tomorrow sees West host Clacton, kick-off 3pm.
Tulip Man of the Match: Harry Mahoney.