London 3 Eastern Counties
West Norfolk 30
The tireless work of West Norfolk Rugby Club skipper Paul Bridges has been applauded by one his coaching staff ahead of Saturday’s London 3 Eastern Counties derby against Wisbech.
West Norfolk coach Lee Parry heaped praise on Bridges after West started 2018 in the best possible fashion with a 30-19 victory on their travels at Woodbridge.
Parry said: “Paul and myself have had to deal with quite a few ‘obstacles’ in relation to the first team this season.
“It started off tough with a lot of last year’s squad relocating from the area or forced to retire due to injury.
“As a club, we’ve had to put together a recruitment programme, bringing back players and recruiting some new faces.
“Paul has done a fantastic job of being the face for the players and has begun to rebuild the great team ethic that was previously there.
“Selection has been tough, but it’s been managed to ensure transparency for players to understand why they have been picked, which has kept everyone really positive during a difficult period.
“He has led by example on and off the pitch and with his passion and commitment we are beginning to get some really positive results.”
West Norfolk go into Saturday’s home derby clash looking to avenge the 51-24 defeat which they suffered in the reverse fixture last September.
Bridges said: “It will be a tough local derby with Wisbech where we will look to massively improve on our result from the away fixture, which I fully believe we are capable of.
“I was immensely proud of how the guys performed against Woodbridge, showing patience and control to keep possession and prevent them from having the ball for the majority of the game.
“We wanted to make a statement for 2018 and we have definitely achieved that after displaying the same determination and hard work that we put in against Holt before Christmas.
“Fitness is still a bit of an issue after the Christmas break as we allowed Woodbridge to build momentum in the final 20.
“However, I feel the squad as a whole will continue to improve week-in and week-out as we have shown over the season so far.”
Against Woodbridge, centre Freddie Playford registered the first try of the game which Sam Moses converted.
The hosts replied with a converted score following an intercepted pass from the restart.
Bridges and flanker Henry Rust took things into their own hands with big carries to assert West’s position in the Woodbridge half.
A resulting West scrum from a held-up ball over the line then allowed for fly-half Moses to pick out winger Stephen Aspery, who crashed over the Woodbridge line.
Moses added a further penalty before a chipped kick was intercepted by Aspery, who scampered over the line to score and give West a 20-7 interval lead.
West maintained their concentration and momentum in the second period with Moses adding a converted try before the same player kicked a penalty.
Man-of-the-match: Mark Tilbrook.