RUGBY UNION: A perfectly executed game plan saw West Norfolk reclaim top spot in London South East Three Eastern Counties.
They had been temporarily knocked off pole position when they were in Senior Vase action the previous week. However, a bonus point 29-0 win over Fakenham saw them maintain their perfect record to leapfrog Cantabrigian back to top spot.
Head coach Darren Clarke said his team’s first-half play had been just what he had asked for. “With a 50mph wind down the pitch, this was always going to be a difficult game. We spoke beforehand about getting four tries with the wind in our favour and then defending hard.
“We executed the game plan perfectly. It was a massive squad effort and it was great to see some players returning to the squad and performing well.”
In torrid conditions, West maintained their 14-match winning league run. With gale force winds at their backs, West took the game to the visitors with some strong carries from Dan Nunn and Adam Fox. West’s offloading game saw a number of short passes release flanker Harry Robb and he crashed over the line for the opening score.
Solid defensive work from scrum half Mike Gillick and lock Edney Costa prevented Fakenham from replying.
Quick, short passes enabled captain Henry Rust to find a gap in the Fakenham defence and he crashed over for the second try, converted by Moses.
Minutes later in similar fashion, Rust scored again close to the Fakenham posts with Moses converting.
A moment of brilliance by Gillick secured the bonus point when he picked up a loose ball at the ruck and used smart footwork and pace to score in the corner to make it 24-0 at the interval.
West had to work hard to maintain their lead against the strengthening wind and with rain beginning to pour down, making conditions even worse.
Against a swirling wind, winger Alex Singleton and full back Charlie Moore worked well in tandem to catch high balls and get West out of danger a number of times, with No.11 Stephen Aspery providing essential support.
Eventually lock Sam Mount scored the only try of the second half, using his speed and strength to outpace the Fakenham backs.
The Adrian Flux man of the match was Mike Gillick.
λ West Norfolk have been drawn at home in the final of the London/South East Counties RFU Senior Vase, welcoming Reeds Weybridge to Gatehouse Lane on Saturday, March 14, with a place in the national semi-finals at stake.