Upminster 0 W Norfolk 39
West Norfolk stepped up to third in London North East 3 following a convincing bonus point victory away to Upminster.
The visitors arrived knowing that they faced a formidable challenge against a bulky pack of forwards in wet conditions.
However, bolstered with the return of Max Rust and Alex Singleton, West were in confident mood with a strong squad available to make the journey down to Essex.
Winning the toss, West chose to spend the first half going uphill on a fairly short and steep pitch.
Kicking off, the visitors were able to apply pressure from the start and pin their opponents back in their own 22 area. As Upminster sought to gain ground from deep, a clearance kick was charged down and recovered by winger Jake Richardson, who crossed over to open West’s account.
Despite the incline in the pitch, the visitors were looking in control with the forwards having the upper hand in both the scrums and lineouts. This platform allowed the half back pairing of Sam Greenwood and Monty Maule to feed quick ball out wide.
Ultimately, this enabled West to cut loose as Richardson burst over for his second in the right corner, Monty Maule making the tricky touch line conversion to give West a 12-0 lead.
West then relaxed and Upminster began to create some attacking phases of their own. A missed penalty opportunity for an offside at the ruck then prevented the hosts from clawing back some of the gap.
West regrouped with some tremendous runs from Neil Thurston and Jamie Williamson. Another break saw Richardson cut through to complete his hat-trick, Monty Maule adding the extras.
With the visitors now 19-0 to the good and looking to notch up one more try for the bonus point before the interval, their forwards camped themselves deep in Upminster territory with a series of lineouts. A close range catch and drive saw captain Lawrence Savage crash over to touch down, only for the ref to not give the score as he was unsighted.
Undeterred, with the slope now in their favour, West struck quickly into the second half with a penalty from Monty Maule, which was swiftly followed by a drop goal from the fly half to hand the visitors a 25-0 cushion.
Upminster attempted to rebuild some momentum via a number of powerful bursts up the centre, but some spirited defending from the likes of Ryan Walker, Will Dodds and Dave Harrison kept the hosts from getting within striking distance.
With the hosts now tiring, West went up a gear once more and were able to release centre Lewys Weaver, who sliced through to score their fourth try.
As the final whistle loomed the visitors went on one last foray, which ended with Monty Maule clinically finishing off the attack to score, before converting his own try.
“Upminster are traditionally a very hard side to break down at home, so for us to come away with a bonus point win is a brilliant result for us,” said manager Nigel Richardson.
“Once again, being able to complete the match without conceding any points is especially pleasing and a testament to the lads’ work in defence. However, we must keep our focus as we look ahead to this weekend’s cup game.”
Tomorrow sees West host Holt in the Senior Norfolk Cup.
Tulip Man of the Match: Dave Harrison.