Norwich 31 Newmarket 5
Norwich exacted revenge on an in form Newmarket team on Saturday with a scintillating display of free flowing rugby culminating in one of their most satisfying wins of the season.
The atmosphere at Beeston Hyrne on Saturday was electric as the Club welcomed back many of its former players in the Annual Back to Norwich Day in memory of former president Alan Harvey.
The current 1st XV players responded by giving a highly impressive account of themselves running out winners by five tries to one. Norwich gave a home debut to lock Tom Lloyd, who was outstanding throughout, rightly collecting the Man of the Match award.
In perfect spring like conditions, Norwich chose to play against the wind in the first half. Immediately Newmarket sought to pressurise their hosts, deploying the same trundling style of forward orientated rugby that had been so effective earlier in the season when they won 28-26. This time, Norwich were prepared, having focused on countering the rolling mauls in training this week.
Norwich’s formidable front row of Aaron Swanborough, Jon Snowling and Tom Whiskin were giving their larger opponents a torrid time in the set piece, securing solid ball for the Norwich backs and unsettling Newmarket’s primary possession. Early Newmarket pressure accounted for nothing as Norwich refused to give an inch in the contact situations, Dougie Greenwood leading by example.
For the first fifteen minutes, Norwich found themselves on the back foot, having to counter attack from deep. Jonnie Wheater looked composed at fly half and was seeking to create space for Norwich’s elusive strike runners, Rob Micklethwaite and Jay O’Brien.
Norwich came into the game more and more with the dry conditions well suited to their open style of rugby. Newmarket on the other hand were guilty of not using the strong wind to their advantage with some rather wayward kicking out of hand giving the onus back to the home side. And Norwich did not need a second invitation to take the lead. From a five yard scrum, Norwich pressure told and after quick recycling by the Norwich forwards, Dougie Greenwood was unstoppable as he crashed over from five yards to open the scoring. Rob Micklethwaite successfully converted.
Norwich successfully maintained a high tempo, orchestrated by the half back pairing of Josh Ives and Jonny Wheater. Newmarket’s heavy forwards were not allowed to settle as Norwich sought to move the ball at every opportunity.
Norwich’s second try came midway through the first half, when the Norwich front row took one against the head. Quick hands from the impressive No.8 Ross Adnitt created the space for Josh Ives to run a full fifty metres to score a superb try in the corner. This time, the conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
By this point, Norwich were truly in the ascendancy and playing with confidence, buoyed by a boisterous and vociferous home crowd. The line out settled down as locks Gareth Leake and Tom Lloyd dominated the airspace, giving the side a solid platform upon which to attack. The Norwich backs looked dangerous every time they received the ball. Norwich scored their third try of the afternoon, when powerhouse winger Jonny Coltman crashed over following another superb Norwich scrum. The half time score was 19-0 to Norwich, signalled by a highly unusual kick to touch from skipper Swanborough.
The second half continued largely in the same vein, with Norwich playing with confidence and the wind at their backs. Newmarket’s only resistance was in the form of their highly impressive inside centre, who was a thorn in Norwich’s side all afternoon. But Norwich intelligently used the elements to good effect, playing territorial rugby and pinning Newmarket deep in their own half. With solid first phase possession, Norwich found themselves able to launch attacks at will and eventually the pressure began to tell. Norwich varied their play well, tightening the game up when necessary and allowing their forwards to flex the muscles and assert themselves. Newmarket were limited to a few brief forays into Norwich territory, but the hosts were in a very uncompromising mood, snuffing out attacks time and again.
Midway through the second half, Norwich’s Jonny Coltman broke free with a powerful run through the midfield. When he was eventually tackled, a powerful surge from Ross Adnitt maintained the momentum and allowed the ball to be recycled.The move was finished when young Dave Micklethwaite was on hand to burst through from twenty yards to score his debut first XV try and secure the bonus point for Norwich.
Norwich refused to let up and kept the pressure upon their wilting opponents. Josh Ives became increasingly prominent, his intelligent snipping kicks kept Norwich moving forward. With such a margin, at times Norwich were guilty of over complicating matters somewhat, their cavalier approach and ambitions warmly received by the home crowd of former players and members.
Finally, Norwich fly half Jonnie Wheater punished some rather slack tackling to go over and score Norwich’s fifth try. In the closing stages, Newmarket scored a consolation try when their scrum half nipped in at the corner to open their account. But nothing could deny Norwich as they finished winning 31-5 to the delight of the supporters and coaching staff. A very impressive performance by the team which bodes well for the rest of this season and next.
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