Ilford 57 West Norfolk 26
A solo performance from centre Monty Maule was enough to secure a single league point as West went down away to Ilford in a bad-tempered match.
Maule, who proved to be West’s shining light on the day, notched up all of the visitors 26 points, including the four tries required for the bonus point.
With a few players out, West arrived with a rejigged line up, which featured Jake Huggett starting at hooker and Ollie Short joining Edney Costa and Alex Singleton in the back row.
Will Knox also a welcome return to the backline.
Following the concession of a sloppy try, West fought hard in the first quarter, but were unable to get any rhythm within their play as the team members attempted to settle.
Thanks to a powerful driving maul and scrum, Ilford extended their lead again, but West hit back with a try as Maule sliced through the defence.
Just as West started to get into some decent attacking patterns, an injury to an Ilford player stopped play for a lengthy period.
From then on, West struggled to get on the front foot for any prolonged periods and were pinned back with strong running from the home pack.
A loss of collectiveness then began to build, which seemed to compound frustrations in West’s efforts.
Nevertheless, West were able to strike back a couple of times via Maule to keep within touching distance for most of the match.
As fatigue and injuries began to tell the visitors were again forced shuffle the back line with Ollie Ridout moving to scum-half and Sam Greenwood at his half-back partner.
Alas, Ilford continued to power home their bulk in the forwards and West were forced to try to counter from deep thanks to some breaks from the likes of Edney Costa and Jake Richardson.
The fixture then took a nasty turn when a confrontation ended with a subbed Ilford player ran back onto the field to throw a punch, receiving a red card at the final whistle.
Team boss Lawrence Savage said: “This was a bitter pill to swallow for all of the guys after coming into the game with renewed spirits.
“However, we now have time to reflect and build as we look ahead to a crucial home fixture against bottom-of-the-table Lowestoft and Yarmouth on December 10.
“In my view the key is to focus on how we play for each other with an emphasis on attacking rugby.
“I’ve been a part of many teams over the years and know the players have this in them.”
West now sit first-from-bottom of the league table.
With there being no fixture tomorrrow, there will be a training day, starting at 10.30am.
Man-of-the-Match: Monty Maule.