Norwich 39 East London 8
This was a fine performance by Norwich against a side languishing at the bottom end of the table, who soon demonstrated that they were not here just to make up the numbers. Norwich started brightly, but in their eagerness to play a running game, too often the ball was coughed up in contact. Norwich had an opportunity to open the scoring after 3 minutes with a penalty, which Jay O’Brien pushed just wide. The visitors started to get into the game and with Norwich conceding 5 penalties in the first 14 minutes, it was no surprise when their fly half put them in front with a simple penalty in front of the posts.
Shortly after this, Norwich made a hash of dealing with what looked like a harmless kick ahead, just outside their own 22 and the visitors spread the ball wide for their number 13 to canter in near the posts. Fortunately, the easy conversion was missed. This seemed to spur Norwich into life and they then took control of the game, which in truth they never relinquished. After 31 minutes, they scored a try from a five metre scrum, when man of the match number 8 Craig Dunbar crashed over, but it was not converted. Moments later, after a wonderful build up with the forwards piling in towards the opponents line, Paul Micklethwaite got the touch down. O’Brien did not miss with the conversion to put Norwich in front for the first time in the game. Just before half time he increased the lead with a well struck penalty to put Norwich 15-8 up at the interval.
The second half was all Norwich. They scored virtually from the kick off, when skipper Jonny Wheater chased his own kick ahead and with the bounce eluding the defence, he hacked on and won the chase to score half way out. O’Brien kicked the conversion. Five minutes later Dunbar scored a remarkable try from a set scrum just inside the visitors, half when he picked up the ball at the base and went on the blind side, broke several tackles and outpaced the cover to score again half way out for O’Brien to add yet another conversion. Norwich scored again 12 minutes into the half with a try by right wing Dan Coltman, after the ball had been swiftly moved by the backs, the game was really over as a contest.
At this juncture Matt Cartwright replaced Paul Micklethwaite at flanker and Josh Ives came on at full back to replace O’Brien. Shortly after these changes, Gareth Leake incurred the wrath of the referee and got a yellow card. This was really a team offence as Norwich had been warned for persistant infringing. Norwich continued to attack and were rewarded with a great try just before full time, when Cartwright a little dynamo, finished off a move down the right flank to score in the corner. The conversion was missed, but no matter as this was a stunning Norwich performance.
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