West stretch for victory at Cantabrigian.Pictures: Roz Bridges.

RUGBY UNION: After a season largely to forget, West Norfolk rose to the challenge to claim a belated ‘play-off’ success.

Both West and hosts Cantabrigian were promoted in the 2020/21, Covid-shortened, season, but the final match, between the two sides was not played and would have been a title decider.

While West have struggled this season, Cantabs have been doing well and went into the match towards the top of the London League Two table.

It promised to be a feisty affair and this was evident as early as the warm-up when the Cantabs coach confronted the visiting team about infringing on the home half of the pitch.

Both sets of fans were vocal and tempers flared throughout.

West started the game more brightly, imposing their power game with strong carries from James Dobler.

Cantabs’ resistance was broken when Jack Trundley capped off some good rugby, with a slick finish in the corner.

West’s scrum dominance created inroads and they won a penalty, from which Dan Nunn and Liam Hind set the platform for fly-half Sam Moses to produce a dummy to break the gain line and scoring, adding the conversion to make it 12-0.

Cantabs hit back and tested the West defence with their smooth ball movement and strong running. West’s ill discipline and lack of game management allowed Cantabs to work their way back and they scored in the corner after a penalty and another slip from the visitors allowed them to equalise.

Cool heads were needed and West responded well with scrum half Jack Wicks diving between the posts for a score converted by Moses.

The West try line came under fire before the break but some incredible goal line tackling from Henry Rust and Jamie Williamson forced Cantabs to spill the ball forward and West went into half-time with a 19-12 advantage.

West came out for the second half knowing a first away win was in their grasp and they improved their chances when man of the match Williamson took the ball over the line.

Ferocious defensive hits from Dan Nunn and Joe Lewis-Mitchell kept West in the game and, although the home teams pulled back two tries, it was not enough and West held on for a 26-24 success.

West are on the road again tomorrow with a trip to Stowmarket. A coach is being provided and anyone interested in supporting the club in Suffolk can find out travel details from the club – 01553 631307.