Probably the first time this season Fakenham fielded a representative first team
London Counties 3EC: Fakenham 23 Holt 19
A superb upset since Holt were leading the division and Fakenham were in ninth place, but this was probably the first time this season that Fakenham fielded what looked to be a truly representative first team with a number of faces back in harness.
Fakenham out-thought and out-fought undefeated Holt throughout.
Holt were given 26 penalties in the game to Fakenham’s four and if you add three yellow cards to the home side, meaning Fakenham played with 14 men for 30 minutes of the game, this makes the win absolutely outstanding.
Holt started the game well and took an early lead through a penalty and this was followed by a try and conversion scored after Fakenham’s lineout was put under pressure.
The relieving kick from this lineout was charged down and Holt scored, 0-10, and the pre-match forecasts looked spot on.
There was a distinct pattern emerging in the game. Holt were happy to kick the ball and play rugby in the Fakenham half, whilst Fakenham kept the ball in hand and ran back at Holt, who struggled to defend these lively attacks from deep.
The home side’s forwards were beginning to get on top with some excellent lineout work from Adam Lingwood. Powerful scrummages from Richy Warren and Jack Powel-Thorn meant the backs had plenty of good quick ball to play with, but it was the domination of the breakdown, ably led by the gifted Rob Ward and Howard Kellock, that put Fakenham in the driving seat.
Lloyd Marshal converted one of the few penalties awarded to Fakenham and then followed this up with a superb piece of skill which resulted in captain Tom Bane-Young going over in the corner.
With two yellow cards and the penalty count going against Fakenham, Holt were only kept out by some desperate defensive work by Ashley Steward and Brett Stolworthy.
Holt did kick a penalty but this was little reward from this pressure. A lovely piece of tackling by Marshal saw Fakenham break again into the Holt half, eventually resulting in a try by Steward converted by Marshal from out wide. Half-time score: 15-13.
From the restart the forward dominance from Fakenham continued in the second half and, after some great work from Rob Ward and Kellock, Fakenham drove deep into the Holt half.
Scrum half, Luke Taylor, then danced his way through the entire Holt pack to score an enchanting try which was not converted.
Another yellow card and more penalties going against Fakenham saw Holt dominate field position, however, a determined defensive effort held Holt to their only scores, two penalties, in the period.
Damon Howick and Josh Gee made impressive contributions when they came on after 60 minutes and Marshal slotted one of the rare penalties awarded to Fakenham to see out the game as well-deserved winners in the end.
Paul Richardson, Fakenham’s coach, was very pleased with the effort and skill shown by his side.
He was especially happy with a new tactic deployed by his forwards that absolutely won the game for Fakenham, with Holt’s captain admitting after the match they had no answer to Fakenham’s counter rucking.
Man of the match could have gone to any of the 18 Fakenham players but it was narrowed down to two, Rob Ward and Rory Singelton.
The 1st team are back on the road tomorrow with a trip to Woodbridge, KO at 2pm, and the coach leaves the club at 10.15am.