Tough start for West Norfolk in London North-East 2
Ipswich 50 West Norfolk 10
West Norfolk had a baptism of fire in their first London North-East 2 fixture at Ipswich on Saturday.
The Gatehouse Lane side – depleted by a number of absentees – suffered a heavy loss against one of the title favourites.
Coach Aaron Beaumont said: “This was our first league match in over 18 months and we were set a tough away start at league challengers Ipswich.
“The boys showed great physicality and grit throughout and we scored an early try through good patience and control.
“Unfortunately, we suffered a couple of early injuries in key positions and that hindered our structure and control.
“We finished the game strongly with our lineout performing well to give us the platform for the resulting maul to score the try. We showed in parts throughout the game that we can compete and put teams under pressure at this level
“We have identified key points to work on during training this week to enable us to continue improving our performance levels ready for our first home game against Wymondham on Saturday.”
The quartet of Josh Burgess, Lewis Stewart, Aaron Beaumont and Lewis Rudd were all handed their first team debuts with a number of players unavailable due to injuries and other commitments.
Both teams started the game brightly, trying to play a quick expansive game across the very well-kept playing surface.
Ipswich opened the scoring using their superior pace and skill out wide with their winger running in from 30 metres to score under the posts.
West recovered well, utilising the power and ball carrying ability of number eight James Dobler and lock Edney Costa to retain possession for a number of minutes before scrum-half Jack Wicks pounced on a loose ball sprinting 40 metres up the pitch.
A last-gasp tackle by Ipswich stopped Wicks in his tracks, but with West on the attack, Wicks jumped to his feet, distributed the ball from the following ruck to fly-half Sam Moses who then put centre Quinton Houston away in the corner.
Unfortunately, that was the end of the game for Wicks who was replaced by Rudd at nine.
Flankers Lewis Stewart and Will Greenwood held firm, but Ipswich continued to dominate out on the wings to take a 21-5 lead at the interval.
Handling errors and fatigue saw the hosts take control after the break.
After a couple of Ipswich penalties, West Norfolk found themselves with a lineout on the Ipswich five-metre line.
Dan Stephenson collected to set up a well-timed maul which provided captain Henry Rust the platform to scoot over for West’s second try.
Ipswich completed the scoring with a well-worked try in the corner late on.
West Norfolk Adrian Flux man of the match: Dan Stephenson.