West Norfolk 63 Clacton 10
Another bonus point win at home to struggling Clacton saw West keep the pressure on the league leaders as they continue to fight for a promotion spot in London North East 3.
In sunny conditions, conducive to West’s attacking style of running rugby, the hosts were in a confident frame of mind.
Despite a few unavailabilities, West were able to field a strong squad, with the welcome return of Sean Brundle at No.8 and Harry Mahoney making his home debut in front of a large Gatehouse Lane crowd.
Clacton arrived with a big pack of forwards, but with only 14 men. It appeared that this had a negative effect on West as the visitors upped their game to frustrate West with some superb defending, coupled by a slight case of white line fever as West stuttered to finish off the chances they were creating.
Eventually, the hosts broke free when Brundle accelerated through to score in the right corner. A moment later flanker Neil Thurston doubled West’s account as he burst over. Alex Singleton’s conversion attempt from out wide unluckily hit the bar to leave it at 10-0 to West.
As the first quarter of the match passed another break from within the Clacton half ended with Ollie Ridout sprinting in to score in the left corner after a good offload by Harry Mahoney.
Clacton continued to defend stoutly, but couldn’t keep up with Wests’ pace in attack as second row Will Dodds finished a flowing move to go over for the hosts’ fourth.
The visitors hit back with a number of close range drives and fierce rucking, but were unable to stop Brundle as he rampaged his way to a brace of tries to leave the half time scores at 25-0.
Not to be outdone by the forwards and determined to show a more clinical side, Wests’ backs started the second period sharply when winger Jake Richardson left the defence for dead to score in the right corner.
Clacton regrouped and pounced on a loose ball as some sloppy play and tackling from West let the visitors make a break up the left hand touchline to score their first of the day.
Singleton cut a terrific running line from deep to add Wests’ seventh, with Ross Biggs adding the conversion to extend the hosts’ lead to 37-5. Richardson rounded off a penetrating phase from the backs, with Singleton slotting the extras.
As Clacton’s forwards began to tire West got on the front foot thanks to the likes of fresh legs Henry Rust and Ryan Walker and following a series of crash balls from the ruck area, prop Paul Bridges punched his way over to score his second of the season.
Another break from the backline ended with Tommy Windibank powering over under a barrage of tacklers for the home side’s tenth.
Much credit should be given to Clacton, whose never give up attitude was rewarded when their dynamic front rower intercepted a pass to sprint home from 40 yards.
However, determined to end on a high note, West set up one last attack in the dying minutes, which ended with Biggs slicing through the defenders from full back, converting his own try to complete the victory.
Tomorrow sees West travel to Billericay. Kick off is 2.30pm.
Tulip Man of the Match: Will Dodds
West Norfolk Development side gave a dominant display in their 44-14 away win over Watton 1sts.
Tulip MoM: Dan Garner.