West Norfolk Rugby Club show their strength in depth to maintain title charge
West Norfolk coach Darren Clarke was rewarded for the trust he placed in his players as a much-changed home side extended their unbeaten league run to 13 matches.
The Gatehouse Lane outfit were forced into a number of changes and put an early injury to centre Henry Hoyles behind them to run out 59-22 victors against Crusaders.
Clarke said: “This game was a good test of the depth of the squad with a number of injuries and unavailablities in the lead up to the game.
“Those players that came in all stood up and performed well. Our attacking play was outstanding at times and we scored some excellent tries.
“The game became a little loose in the second half and the only disappointment was conceding four tries for only the second time this season, but some credit must go to Crusaders who never gave up.”
Captain Henry Rust added: “We made a great start and played well for the first 30 minutes. After that we probably took the game for granted at times and allowed far too many mistakes defensively.
We have plenty to work on over the next fortnight at training ahead of our senior vase game against Hitchin at home on February 8.”
Going into the game, Craig Blackmur stepped in at lock, Edney Costa moved to No.8, Stephen Aspery starting on the wing and Charlie Moore moving to scrum-half.
Luke Covell returned to start on the bench, alongside Olly Denton and Connor Clarke.
West’s lineout showed its dominance early on with Craig Blackmur turning over a Crusaders throw in giving West vital position.
Will Greenwood scored West’s opening try, converted by fly-half Sam Moses, in the opening minutes, before winger Aspery went over in the corner and Moses kicked again.
Dan Nunn was the next West Norfolk player to get his name on the scoresheet while Charlie Moore used his speed and strength to fend off a defender and add another.
After a great catch and pass at the lineout by Edney Costa, the big frame of Adam Fox crashed the ball up in midfield.
From the resulting ruck, the ball found fly-half Moses who in turn found Singleton to carve his way through the Crusaders defence for a converted try.
Crusaders replied with a try of their own just before the interval as West Norfolk held a 33-7 advantage.
After the break, the visitors found space out wide with a three-man overlap to add a second try.
Henry Rust then sprinted over for a converted score before Charlie Moore, Max Rust and Singleton went over for further scores with Olly Denton adding an extra two points with the final try. A valiant finish saw Crusaders add another try.
Adrian Flux Man-of-the-Match: Stephen Aspery.
Elsewhere, West’s development side lost to Diss III away after playing the whole first half with only 14 men.
More by this authorGreg Plummer