Clacton 7 West Norfolk 29
West Norfolk returned home from a day out at the coast with a hard-fought bonus point win over Clacton on Saturday.
Despite being bottom of the league, West arrived expecting a tough encounter up front with their hosts having a recent win over Beccles.
The visitors had a much changed line up, which saw Ollie Ridout and Conor Tuck returning to the squad, alongside debutant Tom Courtney.
West won the toss and chose to kick, hoping to put Clacton under early pressure. This proved to be the case as an offside gave fly half Monty Maule the opportunity to convert a penalty kick for a 3-0 lead.
Although facing a much heavier pack, the visiting forwards were gaining the upper hand in the set pieces and a string of fast attacking rucks finally saw the ball worked out to winger Nic Bull, who powered his way through to open West’s account.
A combination of questionable decisions around the ruck area and missed attacking opportunities then began to frustrate West as the game slowed. No. 8 Jamie Williamson made some crunching runs through the middle, ably supported by the likes of Harrison McNaught and Will Dodds, but the Clacton defenders held firm.
As half-time approached West breached the home line again as Monty Maule cut through after some powerful play by the pack, before adding the extras to give the visitors a 17-0 lead at the break.
The second half unfolded in a similar fashion with West unable to settle as Clacton defended fiercely and continued to disrupt their patterns, even when the hosts’ flanker was sin-binned.
A blistering run down the left touchline by Bull saw the ball being quickly recycled out by Sam Greenwood to an overlap on the Clacton 22 and a try was looking imminent.
However a knock on from the defence was adjudged deliberate and so West were awarded a penalty try, Maule converting to extend their lead to 24-0.
West stuttered again when Chad Seeley was yellow carded for a questionably harsh decision. Clacton scored a break-away try to reduce the deficit at 24-7.
However, West were determined to obtain a fourth try bonus point and an excellent attack ended with Seeley sprinting home in the right corner, Maule’s conversion rebounding off the posts.
This week sees West take on Fullerians at home in the Senior Vase, KO 2.30pm.
Tulip Man of the Match: Jamie Williamson.
West Norfolk Development hammered Watton 1sts 46-0.
Tulip MoM: Sam Hilton.