LONDON 3 EASTERN COUNTIES
West Norfolk 12
Few things in sport bring a ground to life quite like a high-profile encounter under the floodlights.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for West Norfolk Rugby Club, who suffered a derby defeat at the hands of Ely on Friday night.
Night fixtures at Gatehouse Lane have been rare over the years and it was the hosts who were left in the dark come the final whistle following some poor decision-making during the course of the match.
West Norfolk captain Paul Bridges had few complaints about the final result.
Bridges said: “We were really looking forward to this fixture as we felt we had the ability to beat Ely.
“However some poor decision-making really affected us.
“All of the players showed great character and really put their bodies on the line in defence, but we can’t win a game always defending.
“Our pace out wide was key but how we got it there is what cost us on occasions.
“We need to work on our fitness, especially with some tough games in the run-up to Christmas.
“But we also need to look at reading situations and making an effective decision.
“We will be looking to put things right in the second round of the RFU Senior Vase at home to Thetford on Saturday.”
West found themselves under pressure almost immediately and, despite fierce tacking from Adam Fox and Luke Covell, Ely registered the first try of the game.
West, co-ordinated by scrum-half Ollie Ridout, re-grouped using their strong forwards.
The hosts used the blistering pace of Rory Jones and fly-half Sam Moses and, after a move involving Dave Harrison, Matt Clements went over for West’s first try.
A loose pass led to an interception by the visitors for a second try and a 12-5 interval lead.
West Norfolk’s decision- making didn’t improve after the interval.
Ely added a further score before Moses powered over the line for the hosts after building momentum through Will Knox and Jones.
West Norfolk’s patient approach eventually took its toll on fitness and a number of errors allowed Ely to keep the scoreboard ticking over until the final whistle, despite some courageous defence from the likes of prop Covell and the ever-present Edney Costa.
Man-of-the-match: Sam Moses.
n While West were left to reflect on what might have been against Ely, the club’s second XI put in a huge performance away at league leaders Holt to win 36-32.
Strong performances from Dave Evans, John Lemon and Kyle Hind ensured that West played a simple, but effective, game plan.
Using their stronger forwards to assert dominance, West’s scrummaging was a particular highlight.