West Norfolk 12
There was no disgrace in defeat as West Norfolk pushed league leaders Southwold all the way at Gatehouse Lane on Saturday.
With the Beast from the East forcing the postponement of the original fixture, a mini return of the cold snap did not stop the rearranged fixture between the two sides going ahead.
Team boss Nigel Richardson said: “It was always going to be tough facing the joint league leaders and a strong and well-organised pack with a depleted side.
“But the lads can hold their heads up high after playing with a never-say-die attitude and giving 100 per cent effort.”
West fielded a much-changed squad for the London 3 Eastern Counties fixture with regular skipper Paul Bridges away on his stag weekend.
A number of other faces were also absent on what should have been a free weekend due to international Six Nations fixtures.
Adam Fox and Ben Flores stepped into the captaincy breach, while the former added the position of front row to his already-impressive rugby CV.
The hosts started at great pace and moved the ball quickly between hands in a wintery gale to put Southwold on the back foot defensively.
West took the lead in the fifth minute following a well-worked try from Ash Colvin.
However this sprung the visitors into action and they soon reduced the arrears with a slick move of their own before taking the lead with the conversion.
Brave West Norfolk regained the lead when stand-in skipper Fox touched down and Sam Moses added the extras to make it 12-7.
Southwold hit back, finding gaps through the centre and using their strength and experience to add a further four tries and hold a 35-12 advantage going into the interval.
With a quick warm-up in the dressing room West started the second period in a positive spirit and were unlucky with a couple of breaks.
A number of handling errors in the tricky conditions denied West from adding to their points tally.
West continued to play in the right spirit, but inexperience and players playing out of position saw Southwold add three unanswered tries.
Despite this, the attitude of the West Norfolk players remained spot on until the final whistle.