London Eastern Counties 3
West Norfolk ended 2017 on a losing note – but captain Paul Bridges praised the intensity of his side’s display following the narrow home reverse by Holt.
Sam Moses, who suffered a leg injury in the second half, scored West’s only try of the game as they went down 16-7 against their visitors at Gatehouse Lane.
Speaking after the defeat, Bridges said: “Despite the result I am pleased with our performance as this is possibly the first fixture this season we have played at 100 per cent for the full 80 minutes.
“We played with intensity throughout the game, only faltering when we tried to adjust after losing Sam (Moses) in the second half.
“Adam Fox had his best game for the club since joining and really showed his experience whilst inspiring players with his strong ball carrying.
“Every player gave 110 per cent and showed that we can pull together and play as a team when the pressure is on.
“We honestly felt we could have won the game, however a few questionable decisions and some silly mistakes around the breakdown allowed Holt to kick penalties which ultimately cost us.
“However our fitness was much better than in previous weeks combined with some great defence, boosted by the returning Craig Edwards and Freddie Playford in the centre.
“Our scrum was dominant but we still need to work on our line-out, especially against sides with natural line-out jumpers.”
After missing a penalty for a deliberate knock-on, Moses soon made amends after scrum-half Hayden Revell gave him the ball quickly before showing some silky footwork to manoeuvre his way over the line.
Moses converted the try and it was enough to give West a slender 7-6 half-time advantage after Holt had kicked two penalties.
Lock and man-of-the-match Adam Fox continually broke the gain line for West, using his bulk and acceleration.
He was well supported by the likes of hooker Christian Newton-Walters and flanker John Lemon.
Holt took the lead for the first time with another penalty and, soon after losing the influential Moses, the visitors scored a converted try to go seven points in front.
It was the way the score remained despite some excellent carries from prop Luke Covell, captain Bridges and Fox.
The game took place following a very successful annual Mallet Cup fixture between West under-13A and a West Norfolk schools Barbarians team.
Elsewhere, depleted West 2nds travelled to UEA. Although losing West showed true character and grit, despite only having 12 players.