West Norfolk 50
May & Baker 29
West hosted May & Baker for the first time in London North East 3 league on Saturday.
A series of squad changes saw Yousef Edris starting at hooker and the welcome return of backs AJ Edwards and Dave Evans.
The home side were confident of putting together a decent performance, despite facing a strong opposition, who have maintained momentum since being promoted into the league.
May & Baker started well with some well worked driving mauls from the lineout, but West broke free with an early try from winger Jake Richardson, who scorched in from out wide. Lewys Weaver adding the conversion.
A penalty kick saw the visitors close the gap to 7-3, before Richardson once again clinically finished off a flowing counter attack from the backs. Another flowing counter attack from the hosts released Richardson, with Weaver adding the extras to extend their lead to 14-3.
May & Baker then hit back with number of powerful forward surges from the lineout, which resulted in a try to the right of the posts. With West giving away too many penalties, this was repeated minutes later as the visitors took a 17-14 lead.
West regrouped and a stunning burst up the middle of the field by captain Jamie Williamson released lock Dan Stephenson in support. Unfortunately, a crunching tackle forced Stephenson off the pitch with a serious ankle injury, with Ben Bullock coming on as replacement.
West composed themselves and a stunning break from the backs opened the defence up for full-back Ross Biggs to sprint home for the hosts’ third try.
As the half came to a close, May & Baker were rewarded with another try from the set piece to take a surprise 22-19 advantage into the interval.
Having had some strong words during the break, West came out looking like a different team and struck back when AJ Edwards crashed over to reclaim West’s narrow lead at 26-22. Weaver then slotted a penalty (29-22), more than a converted try ahead.
With the visitors tiring West looked to cut loose with some powerful carriers from the likes of Sam Greenwood, Lee Parry and Will Dodds. This eventually set Richardson free to complete his hat-trick, Weaver converting to extend West’s lead to 36-22.
The hosts then upped the tempo once more and a tremendous series of fast ruck ball ended with Neil Thurston splitting open the defensive line as he combined with Ryan Walker, who crashed over.
Eager to pick up a four-try bonus point, May & Baker fought hard and broke through near the posts.
With time running out, a flowing West attack threatened to come to nothing when a pass went astray. However, Weaver scooped the ball up and jinxed through several defenders to complete his brace of tries and converting to close out the match.
This weekend sees West travel to high flying Epping Upper Clapton.
Adrian Flux Man-of-the-Match: Ryan Walker.