West Norfolk on the wrong end of heavy defeat at Chelmsford
West Norfolk head coach Aaron Beaumont had few complaints after seeing his side beaten 49-9 at Chelmsford on Saturday.
The Gatehouse Lane outfit made the long trip with a good following of support but knew they would be up against it versus a side which has flirted with the top four for most of the season.
Beaumont said: “Despite the score, positively we took the game physically to Chelmsford in the first half and got over the gain line on numerous occasions, leading to penalties which we converted.
“We defended really well against their sharp back three in the first half but unfortunately we couldn’t carry this on past the 50 minute mark and a fit and quick Chelmsford team punished us in the final part of the game.”
The absence of Tane Dunn, Angus Williams and Charlie Moore meant that West welcomed Lewis Rudd at scrum-half, Olly Denton to fly-half and Louis Jones at centre, while Josh Burgess started on the bench.
On a very muddy pitch, starting downhill, West were slow to find their feet after a long bus trip, with Chelmsford keeping West pinned in their own 22 in the opening ten minutes of the game.
Despite some excellent tackling by Jamie Williamson and Edney Costa, the hosts eventually made the breakthrough and score a converted try for an early lead.
West regrouped and were rewarded for more courageous defending with penalties, allowing the Norfolk side to gain vital territory in the Chelmsford half.
Following some strong carries by forwards James Dobbler and Will Greenwood, further ill-discipline by Chelmsford at the ruck allowed full-back Sam Moses to kick three converted penalties in quick succession to give West the lead nearing half-time.
But a determined Chelmsford side used their pacey backs to collect a kicked ball through and score in the corner to give the hosts a 14-9 lead at the break.
In the early stages of the second half, despite running up hill, West continued to carry hard in the close quarters and would keep possession well.
However with the skill and fitness of the Chelmsford backline, any mistake by the visitors was pounced on, with their Essex hosts scoring at regular intervals after the restart.
With the playing conditions and huge defensive effort, West began to tire to which Chelmsford continued to take advantage, but the visitors never gave up.
Flurries from the likes of Michael Skinner, Josh Burgess and Alex Singleton kept up the spirit of West who continued to make possession as difficult as possible for the hosts but ultimately Chelmsford would finish dominant and be worthy winners on the day.
The Adrian Flux Man-of-the-Match for West Norfolk was Jamie Williamson.
West host Diss on Saturday at Gatehouse Lane (3pm), whilst the 2nds travel to Yarmouth-Broadland.
It is a big clash for West, who have games in hand on some of their rivals, with Diss sitting just above them.