RUGBY UNION: Looking at reports from the 2019/20 season it looks to have been a campaign of complete success for West Norfolk.
League champions, on the cusp of a place at Twickenham, a regional cup to add to the trophy cabinet and another within reach in the county competition.
However, a look at the official record books and the campaign has been a complete blank, courtesy of the coronavirus pandemic. So, before Wests’ amazing achievements are consigned to the memory banks, here is a reminder of exactly what they achieved.
Like many other clubs throughout the country, West Norfolk had their season cut short by the coronavirus outbreak but the season produced some of the finest rugby and in turn excellent results the club has seen in its 95-year history.
After a change of coach and captain at the beginning of the season, head coach Darren Clarke aided by Tom Jones, Reg Dunne and Olly Denton quickly began to add their influence into the men’s senior section led by first team captain Henry Rust and second team co-captains Kevin Foley and Martin Bridgeland.
Unbeknown to West, they met London North East 3 Eastern Counties promotion rivals Cantabrigian in the first fixture of the season. The game was decided in the closing stages when fly half Sam Moses calmly kicked over.
That spurred West on to big wins against Beccles, Ipswich YM and Crusaders.
A win over Thetford in the first round of the RFU Senior Vase was followed by wins against Fakenham, Thurston and Wisbech.
Woodbridge away in the second round of the Vase saw a single point separate the sides, thankfully in favour of West.
Next up was fellow promotion contenders Ely, a ground at which West have not won in recent years.
However, due to the unbelievable tackle count from new arrival Harry Robb and a spirited team effort, West got the win. A 40-0 win over close rivals Wisbech rounded off a perfect first half of the season.
West’s winning run continued through a soggy January before they overcame Hitchin in the RFU Senior Vase regional semi-final
A tough game at Thetford in torrid conditions tested the King’s Lynn side’s resolve, with the winning points coming in the final moments.
After dispatching Thurston in the league, West’s attention fell on their RFU Senior Vase regional final against a Reeds Weybridge side on a 54-game winning streak.
Victory in that proved to be the last on-pitch action of the season with just a national semi-final separating West from a memorable day out at Twickenham.
The league title was decided on points average and, with it, promotion, but details of whether the Vase will be completed are still awaited,
Head coach Darren Clarke said: “The success was down to a tremendous team effort both on and off the pitch.
“On the coaching side Tom Jones brought a freshness and vigour to training and matchday whilst Reggie Dunn returned to add a hard edge.
“Physio Joe McKenna worked tirelessly and manager Damien Fish kept the whole thing together and running smoothly.
“It is the players who must take most credit. Their determination and commitment never faltered.
“While the logistics of the 2020/21 season remain unclear, we are looking forward to the challenges of a higher league
“We hope to start pre-season training at some stage this month and welcome any new players.”