West Norfolk 34
West Norfolk skipper Paul Bridges hailed the never-say-die attitude of his players after seeing them produce one of the best-ever comebacks at Gatehouse Lane.
Trailing 26-5 at the interval, West Norfolk were heading for a swift Norfolk Senior Cup exit before they pulled off a nail-biting victory in the dying seconds of an absorbing clash.
A delighted Bridges said: “ I am unbelievably proud of the guys for their performance today.
“Every player gave 110 per cent to get us over the line and left nothing on the field.
“Our forwards seem to grow in confidence every week and our backs are now getting vital continuity.
“We need to improve the way we start because we are getting punished for sloppy mistakes that result in us climbing a hill from the beginning.
“However, I fully believe we can continue this momentum into Saturday’s game at Wymondham which I am sure will be a tough and physical encounter.”
West found themselves chasing the game in the first half until Dave Evans opened his side’s account following some strong forward drives from the likes of Luke Covell and Ash Colvin.
Fakenham increased their lead soon after the restart and West Norfolk’s cup hopes looked all but over.
But, led by Edney Costa, some strong forward play saw the hosts reduce the arrears through Adam Fox following excellent build-up play by Charlie Moore and Billy Goodway.
Fly-half Sam Moses then distributed the ball wide to winger Rory Jones who made hard yards before feeding prop Luke Shpylka for his first-ever West Norfolk try.
Constructive play by West then allowed another short break by Fox who offloaded to Goodway and in turn to stand-in scrum-half Olly Denton, who fed Colvin to make another man of the match run deep into the Fakenham twenty-two.
Moses and Colvin added further tries to leave tensions high with the score 27-33 in Fakenham’s favour.
Determined work by the West forwards with some short crash and drives, with even some of the backs such as Dave Evans and Mark Tilbrook getting involved, allowed West to, slowly but surely, work their way back to Fakenham’s five-metre line.
After a bout of sustained home pressure, hooker Christian Newton-Walters found the gap to score to leave West one point behind.
With the conversion slightly to the left of the posts, stand-in captain Olly Denton kept a cool and calm head to slot the resulting kick through the posts.
MoM: Ash Colvin.