Two-try Aspery continues his journey of delight for West Norfolk
For Stephen Aspery it was just another game, but two years after swapping a round ball for an oval one, the stocky West Norfolk winger is becoming something of a find on the rugby field.
After scoring goals for fun in the Anglian Combination for Swaffham Town Reserves, Aspery is now terrorising defences of a different kind in London 3 Eastern Counties.
His two-try haul in Saturday’s 46-8 derby victory over Wisbech at Gatehouse Lane continued his remarkable progression in the game after breaking into the first team reckoning last season.
While most players progress up and through the youth ranks in rugby, Aspery took an unconventional route into the sport and has shown that anything is possible with hard work and belief.
West Norfolk captain Paul Bridges said: “I used to work with Stephen and converted him over to rugby.
“The first year he came in he was still learning the rules and he is probably still learning them now, but it just goes to show what hard work can do.
“We’ve tried him in a few different positions since he came to the club.
“He is very quick for his size and has got some of the quickest feet I’ve seen on a winger at this club for somebody who has not been a rugby player from youth.
“He scored two tries today and is getting better with every game. Keeping him in the same position has worked wonders for his confidence.
“Stephen worked his way into the first team. At the moment it’s his shirt and somebody has got to work very hard to take it off him.”
Saturday’s result, which also saw tries for Alex Singleton (2), Haydn Revell, Freddie Playford, Sam Moses and Edney Costa, moved West Norfolk up to seventh in the league standings.
Despite spending the majority of the game in the Wisbech 22, West Norfolk only scored one push over scrum try.
Their remaining scores all came as a result of some slick open play but, more importantly, the team continue to improve from earlier in the campaign.
“It was always going to be a huge game against Wisbech after what happened at their place (West lost 51-24) earlier in the season.” said Bridges.
“For me it’s about building momentum. The guys are getting better and better and it opens our eyes to what we might be able to achieve in the remainder of the season.
“We kept possession and didn’t panic when we had the ball. We tried to build phases and maintained our composure, whereas earlier in the season we would have panicked.
“Wisbech threw the kitchen sink at us in the opening ten minutes and we did really well in defence to absorb that.
“Henry Rust and Edney Costa tackled brilliantly around the breakdown in what was probably the toughest part of the match for us.
“The key was to go out and score the first try in the second half. We did that and kept the scoreboard ticking over.”