Wanstead 17 West Norfolk RUFC 67
West Norfolk put in a commanding performance away to Wanstead on Saturday as they picked up their eighth victory of the season, writes Lawrence Savage.
The bonus point win, coupled with a shock defeat to title rivals Epping Upper Clapton away at Southwold, sees the North Wootton based club take top spot in London North East 3 with a four point advantage as we approach the midway point in the season.
Epping still have a game in hand, but West will now be looking to keep the pressure on as they look forward to hosting Upminster in their final fixture before the Christmas break.
West arrived at Wanstead in good spirits, and were able to field a strong side, despite a number of positional changes. This saw Ross Biggs partnering Jake Richardson on the wings, with Dave Harrison at full back, not to mention the return of the talented Jack Hoyles at inside centre.
In the pack there was a deserved start for Yousef Edris, with Lee Williamson switching to flanker alongside Will Greenwood.
West got off to a flying start with Biggs scorching over following a clinical phase of play after just five minutes. Wanstead hit back almost immediately having caught West on the hop.
Undeterred, the visitors continued to pressurise their hosts up front and a second try came when prop Lawrence Savage crashed over from a catch and drive set up at the lineout.
Another flowing move from the backs saw fly half Sam Moses make a break, before the ball was offloaded to Richardson, who outpaced his opposite number to score. Lewys Weaver adding the extras to make it 17-5 to West.
A mazy break from Hoyles then released Biggs, who touched down to complete his brace of the afternoon.
Not to be outshone, the forwards were gelling well and a powerful surge at a close range scrum was rewarded when Wanstead gave away a penalty try.
This was soon followed by another scintillating break down the right wing by Richardson, who notched up his own brace for the day, handing the visitors a formidable 38-5 lead at the break.
The second half continued in much the same style with both forwards and backs interlinking brilliantly. Weaver cut through to open his try account with only a few minutes on the clock.
To their credit Wanstead continued to battle fiercely with a series of thunderous runs from their forward ball carriers and were rewarded with another two quickly taken tries to close the gap at 45-17.
West regrouped and with the fresh legs of Christian Newton-Walters and Michael Rose in the pack, they were able to keep the momentum going forward.
Wanstead began to tire and gave a number of penalties away at the break down as they defended hard.
This, combined with some pinpoint kicking from Moses, enabled West to mount a series of attacks from the lineout. On such phase ended when scrum half Sam Greenwood darted through under the posts.
Hungry for more, a sequence of crash balls resulted in Lee Williamson powering over, before Weaver burst through from another lineout drive to complete the rout.
Tomorrow’s fixture against Upminster at home has a 3pm kick-off.
Adrian Flux MoM: Sam Moses.
West Norfolk Development put in a thrilling showing at home to beat a strong Diss 2nds by 27-24.
Listers BMW / Trundley MoM: William Knox.