West Norfolk 14
West Norfolk produced possibly their finest performance of the season as they beat high-flying league leaders Wymondham in front of a packed Gatehouse Lane on Saturday.
Overall, this was an awesome squad effort and just rewards for the hard work and camaraderie being built within this young side as West came from behind to sink the league leaders.
The hosts were able to welcome back Tuitubou Ulaiasi at number eight, with Craig Edwards also coming in on the wing for the injured Joe Butt.
However, it’s plain to see that West are now benefiting from some fierce competition between the players for squad places.
Inspired by their 2nd XV’s awesome performance again North Walsham earlier in the day, West kicked-off and were immediately putting pressure on Wymondham as they pinned the visitors back in their own half.
The intensity of this pressure told as Wymondham began to concede penalties, allowing West to gain extra territory.
Unfortunately, despite some penetrating runs from centre Shaun Brundle, Edwards and full back Ross Biggs, the visitor’s defence held tight.
Nick Bull narrowly missed a penalty goal kick midway through the first half, but the hosts kept the tempo up with some lovely flowing moves in the backs.
Not to be outshone, the West forwards were competing well up front and the likes of Sammy Edris, Paul Denton and Henry Rust were able to hustle their opponents effectively to disrupt the Wymondham lineouts.
In addition, the West scrum was proving effective and matching up well against a well-organised Wymondham pack.
The visitors then hit back with some lovely running lines from their backs as they looked to release their talented full back and wingers.
A couple of superb tackles from Craig Edwards kept them from going over to score.
Thankfully for West, the Wymondham kicker was slightly off form, missing two penalty kicks as they fought to break the deadlock before the end of a scoreless first period.
West got off to an unfortunate start in the second half as a serious ankle injury to Bull halted play for a long period.
The home side resumed on the attack but were undone when a spilled ball allowed Wymondham to snatch possession and break away, resulting in their winger going over for an unconverted try.
Undeterred, West continued to press with some powerful runs from Brundle and Ulaiasi.
Ed Maule was then able to kick West deep into Wymondham’s half.
A tremendous catch and drive from the forwards ended with prop Lawrence Savage breaking free to crash over.
Ollie Denton slotted the conversion to give West a 7-5 lead.
With Wymondham now looking more dangerous on the attack, West chose to counter with some free-flowing backs moves.
This resulted in a second try after a blistering zig-zag run from Edwards released winger Alex Singleton, who scorched in to score in the left corner.
Ollie Denton converted to extend West’s lead to 14-5.
Wymondham fought desperately to get back in the game and were rewarded with a penalty to close the gap at 14-8, setting up a tense final ten minutes.
However West were in no mood to let up and continued to play some outstanding rugby as they closed off the game as deserved victors.
Tulip Man-of-the-Match: Craig Edwards.