This was a true derby game fought out by two teams of contrasting styles, played in good spirit in front of a large vocal crowd. L & Y with their juggernaut pack playing a tight power game which has seen then destroying teams and Norwich who were looking for the open spaces to get their backs and more mobile forwards into.
Norwich will consider this a game that they really should have won, for the most part they stopped L & Y playing their normal game but dropped passes in scoring positions cost them in the end.
The forwards were outstanding all game standing toe to toe with the biggest pack in the league, the front row of Whiskin, Snowling & Swanborough, although giving away many kilos in weight, gave their opposite numbers a lesson in scrummaging technique. The rest of the pack, and particularly man of the match 17 year old David Micklethwaite, matching them all the way by cutting the L & Y ball carriers down before full momentum had been gained. The backs, ably lead by Jonny Wheater, were just as resolute, tackling players twice their size and denying L & Y any scoring opportunities.
Norwich started really well with a good share of the possession and were the first on the board with a well taken try. From a lineout in the Lowestoft half, Norwich gathered the ball and after several phases of play Jonny Wheater broke through numerous tackles, power his way over between the posts allowing Rob Micklethwaite an easy conversion.
The evenness of both territory and possession for lengthy periods of the game, and indeed the final score, was an indication of how evenly matched the sides were as they fought it out in the rain and mud, which were conditions that undoubtedly favoured Lowestoft’s large pack.
Lowestoft enjoyed a period of momentum, using their maul to good effect pushing play down to the Norwich line. Confusion resulted in a Lowestoft try when No 6 Si Atkinson was penalised on 5 metres and called over by the referee for what everyone assumed was to be a yellow card. Lowestoft tapped the ball and dived over after Norwich stopped playing but the try was awarded and converted.
Norwich had some promising periods deep in Lowestoft territory but some speculative long passes into the stiff breeze by the backs caused the moves to break down and pressure to be turned round.
From one of these passages Lowestoft were awarded a penalty for offside to the left of the posts that was easily converted.
In the second half play again swung first one way then the other but it was very fragmented with errors coming from both sides in the tricky conditions. Lowestoft looked to maul the ball whenever they had the opportunity but Norwich had more potential scoring opportunities through the backs but poor handling let them down at crucial times.
Lowestoft were awarded a penalty on the 22 that they had no difficulty converting which was the final score of the game. Norwich continued to press for the winning points, moving the ball wide at every opportunity but handling mistakes cost them dearly and L & Y held out to win the game.
Norwich had defended all game magnificently and whilst they will be disappointed that a winnable game once again got away from them, they know that they can match one of the two teams that will be promoted this season which bodes well for next season when this predominantly young squad will be more experienced.
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