RUGBY UNION: A recent upturn in form had seen West Norfolk on the verge of completing a remarkable turn around.
Victory at Saffron Walden on Saturday would have seen the team overhaul county rivals Diss to climb out of the bottom two.
However, a narrow 22-19 defeat leaves them needing to beat title-chasing Ipswich in their final game to avoid a ‘relegation’ berth.
Luckily that is academic with no promotion or relegation this season in London League Two.
On a hard pitch in Essex, West hoped their pacey backline would take advantage of some quick ball from the pack.
However, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock, kicking an easy three points following hands in the ruck by West.
West put together a patient number of phases before fly half Jack Trundley broke the Walden defence, offloading for centre Joe Lewis-Mitchell to score the opening try, converted by Trundley.
Walden hit back with a try of their own to gain a one-point lead. Both teams were reduced to 14 men for the final few minutes of the first half.
The pace and footwork of full back Quinton Houston put West back in front but it was the hots who held the half-time advantage after taking advantage of a quick tap penalty to go over to make it 15-12 in their favour.
Walden were again reduced to 14 following a high tackle and West regained the lead when scrum half Jack Wicks pounced to score their third try.
Walden hit back immediately and then drove over from short range to go three points ahead with 15 minutes to go.
West earned a penalty in front of the posts which, if kicked, would have levelled the score but they gambled to kick for the corner and go for the win. That did not work out and the match finished with a home victory.
The Adrian Flux man of the match was Josh Burgess.
Head coach Aaron Beaumont said: “Unfortunately we were never really able to play our usual game structure or meet the high tempo that we have produced in recent weeks.
“We showed some good passages of play and scored a couple of well-worked tries but made too many errors. We have to regroup for a big push against an Ipswich side aiming to win the league.”
The club hope to see a bumper crowd to finish off the season on a high at Gatehouse Lane, 3pm.