East London 72
West Norfolk 29
A battered and bruised West Norfolk squad returned home with a crucial bonus point following a tough encounter away at East London on Saturday.
Due to a number of unavailabilities West were once again forced into fielding a squad featuring a couple of players who were still carrying injuries.
However, this also gave added opportunities to the likes of Nathan Waddington and Elliot Danforth, with the return of Joe Butt and Freddie Playford.
East London started the strongest as West struggled to shake off the effects of the long journey. This was compounded when hooker Christian Newton-Walters was side-lined following an injury within the first quarter. This resulted in three early tries from well worked phases for the hosts.
West then kicked into gear and began to look dangerous on the front foot. A series of forward pick and go’s hammered up the centre of the pitch. Second row Rory O’Sullivan crashed through by the posts, Butt adding the conversion.
The visitors suffered another blow as captain and prop Paul Bridges had to go off injured, meaning West needed further reshuffling up front. Nevertheless, the team continued to compete well, despite a few defensive errors letting East London through to extend their lead.
As the half time break neared forward Danforth, who was putting his body on the line throughout, smashed over to score their second try.
East London continued to produce some well executed second half phases of play to keep the score board ticking over. However, West persevered with the likes of backs Ross Downs, Sam Greenwood and Ollie Ridout making breaks. They were rewarded when a scintillating break from the back line saw the exciting winger Quinton Houston accelerate up the right side line to touch down, Butt adding the conversion.
Ollie Short, Lawrence Savage and the reintroduced Bridges led the charge up front. In the final ten minutes, another break from deep saw Houston make an excellent burst up the right.
A tremendous offload to Butt saw the full back scorch home to secure a well-deserved bonus point for the North Wootton outfit.
Captain Paul Bridges said: “Despite the recent results, it’s been good to see the influx of younger lads progressing well as they’ve taken the step up from youth rugby.
“Even with the number of injuries we’ve had, the team is beginning to gel more as a unit.
“We’ve produced some great rugby in patches, but we must continue to work hard as we now look forward to putting in an 80 minute performance against Stowmarket.”
Tomorrow sees West hosting Stowmarket, 3pm KO at Gatehouse Lane.
Adrian Flux Man of the Match: Elliot Danforth.