Beccles 17 West Norfolk 21
West Norfolk came back with a vital away win over Beccles at the weekend, as they did the double on their tough opponents.
A last minute pitch inspection by the referee almost saw the fixture abandoned due to the original pitch being deemed unsafe to play on.
However, with both captains agreeing to switch to a shorter 60 minute game on the second team pitch, which had no floodlights, the match finally went ahead.
In extremely marshy and windy conditions, West Norfolk’s lighter but more mobile squad knew it was vital to play the game at a fast pace to avoid being drawn into a slog up front against a much larger Beccles pack.
Winning the toss and selecting for the hosts to face the dipping sun in the first half, West got off to a terrific start.
Having won the ball back quickly from the kick off, the visitors set off on a flowing move which ended with flanker Neil Thurston crashing over to score his first of the season. Monty Maule added the conversion for an early 7-0 lead.
Beccles hit back with a series of strong runs and well placed kicks from their full back, which pinned West back in their own half.
With the ground soft under foot, the hosts struck with a well worked driving maul from a close range lineout to bring the scores to 7-5.
West restarted and were able to put Beccles on the defensive straight away with some thunderous runs from No. 8 Jamie Williamson.
On the 20 minute mark, one such break resulted in West cutting open the Beccles tacklers. The ball was offloaded out wide for full back Ross Biggs, who sliced through for West’s second.
Biggs then doubled his tally shortly afterwards with a kick and chase up the left touchline, outsprinting the trailing defenders to touch down for West’s third try, Maule again slotting the extras to put West 21-5 to the good.
The hosts hit back again with a powerful display from their forwards, who trundled over to leave the scores at 21-12 to West going into the interval.
The visitors started strongly in the second period, with some half breaks from the likes of backs Alex Singleton and Tommy Windibank.
However, Beccles were now playing to their strengths with a series of driving mauls from the lineouts, which took them close to scoring on a couple of occasions. Only a number of bone shattering tackles from forwards Will Dodds and Yousef Edris kept the hosts at bay.
As time began to run out for Beccles, a neat break saw the hosts strike for a third try in the right corner, reducing the deficit to 21-17 and setting up a frantic finale.
Nonetheless, West galvanised their defence and were able to hold the gates shut to close the game out as victors.
The win also enables West (currently third) to maintain the promotion battle pressure on second placed Cantabrigians, who lost 21-25 to Stowmarket.
West next host Lowestoft & Yarmouth tomorrow in what promises to be an exciting fixture. Kick-off is 3pm.
Tulip Man of the Match: Yousef Edris.
West’s 2nd/Development side beat Norwich Union 45-29 at home.
Tulip MoM: Rory O’Sullivan / Will Hopkins.