Norwich 29 Upminster 16
On an almost perfect day for rugby albeit very cold Norwich ended up with a comfortable win but at times were made to work very hard for it. The visitors had a big pack with their no 8 causing Norwich problems from the base of the scrum. Outside they had a useful fly half in Jamie Pavitt who constantly got them going forward but to their credit Norwich’s defence was sound.
After 13 minutes it was Norwich who were first on the score sheet with a lovely break by fly half Jonny Wheater just inside his own half after quick ruck ball from the forwards. He fed right wing Rob Micklethwaite who went in under the posts and converted his own try.
Norwich appeared to be well in control and the visitors had to resort to desperate defence and in so doing were penalised after 20 minutes under their own posts. Micklethwaite had no problem converting this and at the same time the referee gave a yellow card to the Upminster flanker Chris Busby.
Norwich failed to capitilise on this advantage and allowed the visitors back into the game. It was Norwich who then seemed to incur the wrath of the referee giving away a string of penalties. One of these was kicked by Pavitt from some 35 metres in front of the posts and another from the same spot was missed. However on the stroke of half time he made no mistake to bring the visitors within 4 points of Norwich.
Just after half time Norwich lost influential no 8 Ross Adnitt with an ankle injury .He was replaced by Ethan Trebble-Westlake .Tom Whiskin also came on for youngster Lewis Ball at prop. There then followed a period when Norwich could not get their hands on the ball but their defence was excellent. After 15 minutes they were given a penalty which was kicked into the right hand corner. From the ensuing lineout they set up a maul and when the ball was released centre Dougie Greenwood was on hand to crash over. Micklethwaite converted to put Norwich in the lead 17-6.
Norwich made a hash of the restart and gave away a penalty which Pavitt converted to reduce the arrears for the visitors. Moments later Norwich were back in enemy territory and from a scrum on the 22 metre line which they won against the head scrum-half Josh Ives shot down the short side and went over half way out for a fine individual try which Micklethwaite could not convert.
The visitors were not finished by any means and came straight back at Norwich and with the clock ticking away they seemed to have won a penalty under Norwich’s posts but the referee playing advantage let play go on. Norwich centre Scott Hancocks intercepted a pass and ran 70 metres to score under the posts which Micklethwaite converted to give Norwich the bonus point.
The opposition bench were not happy feeling that the referee should have gone back and awarded the penalty. The referee took the view that any advantage had gone. The visitors scored a consolation try in the last minute from a penalty which they took quickly and full back Chris Davey scored under the posts for Pavitt to convert which was well deserved.
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