West Norfolk 29
Lowestoft & Yarmouth 22
West Norfolk took a well-deserved victory following a top first half performance against local rivals Lowestoft in their penultimate match before the Christmas break.
A few changes to the squad saw Ollie Ridout and Sam Greenwood start as the half back pairing, with Rob Whiteley coming in at centre, whilst forwards Paul Denton and Jack Slingsby also returned to the team.
Despite the rainy and overcast conditions, West began the match on fire. With barely five minutes on the clock some good hands from flanker Alex Singleton resulted in the ball going to full back Jake Richardson, who crashed over in the far left corner. The conversion from Joe Butt hit the post to deny West the extras.
The centre partnership of Rob Whiteley and Dave Harrison was also combining effectively, with Whiteley showing great strength to burst through several tacklers. The ball was recycled quickly and following a powerful run by captain Paul Bridges, Singleton crashed over to add West’s second try, the conversion by Butt making it 12-0.
Lowestoft hit back with two quick tries of their own, following a couple of silly defensive errors from the hosts, allowing them to close the gap at 12-10.
Undeterred, West upped their game and Singleton showed some scintillating footwork to finish another attack and notch up his brace of tries, extending West’s lead to 17-10 in the process.
With West now looking to apply further pressure, a brilliant piece of attacking play saw some penetrating runs by the likes of the front row trio of Paul Denton, Jacob Chapman and Lawrence Savage combine to create space for the back line to utilise some fast ball. This ended with Richardson scorching in for his second of the match.
As the half hour mark approached a series of well worked driving mauls resulted in some quickly recycled ball out wide, for winger Joe Butt to burst onto, before converting his own try to hand West a healthy 29-10 lead at the interval.
The second half unfolded with West still looking the more dangerous, encamping themselves within the visitors’ territory. A number of promising half breaks by the back three of Quinton Houston, Richardson and Butt almost cut past the Lowestoft defensive line. This was followed up with prolonged period where West were pounding the visitors’ try line with a torrent of penalties to form close range lineouts and scrums. However, despite West coming perilously close to adding a sixth try from Conor Tuck, Sam Greenwood and Will Knox, Lowestoft held tight and were rewarded with a breakaway try.
With time running out and players tiring, another try on the counter enabled the visitors to gain both a losing and try bonus point.
Even so, West will be more satisfied with the bonus point win and will now look to continue their development as they host Ely tomorrow in another derby, 3pm KO at Gatehouse Lane, North Wootton.
Flux Man of the Match: Paul Denton.