Edney Costa climbs high for West against Ipswich.Picture: Roz BRIDGES.

RUGBY UNION: The London League Two season drew to a close for West Norfolk on Saturday and they went out with a bang.

Title-chasing Ipswich were given a shock, as their hosts ran them close throughout a tight first half at Gatehouse Lane.

However, the Suffolk side eased clear after the break to run out 37-17 victors, albeit not enough to overtake Woodford at the top of the table.

West finished second bottom but there is no relegation due to the league system being overhauled this summer.

Director of rugby Darren Clarke said his young team had offered plenty of hope for the future over the course of a hard season.

“It has been a tough season coming back from Covid but we have been more competitive as the season progressed. 

“As a young side we didn’t get over the winning line as many times as we should have, due to a lack of experience at times. 

“All those who played gave 100 per cent and will be better players for having competed at a higher level this season.”

That was borne out by a quick glance at how West had done in the reverse fixture back in September – when they went down 50-10.

Prior to the game a minute’s silence was held to remember former manager and club stalwart Nigel Richardson who died recently. 

With emotion and pride flowing through their veins, it was the hosts who applied early pressure, pinning Ipswich back with ferocious tackles from Will Greenwood and Lewis Stewart. 

The early pressure reaped an early reward when centre Jack Trundley chased down a loose ball, which then was popped up for fly half Jack Wicks to tear over the line. 

Ipswich eventually took advantage of an overlap with their pacey winger sprinting over for a try. 

Undeterred, West regained the initiative with Trundley finding space to use some neat footwork and a burst of pace to dive over.

Ipswich added a penalty before taking advantage of superior numbers out wide to go 19-12 ahead. 

However, with the clock ticking down to half-time, the large and noisy home crowd was kept on their toes with Trundley adding another try.

Despite their best efforts in the second half, West were unable to establish a foothold and Ipswich took advantage of the slight breeze at their backs to pin the hosts back. 

West never gave up and made the visitors work for every point, showing grit and determination but it was to no avail with the visitors adding 20 unanswered points to their tally. 

Lewis Stewart’s defensive performance earned the Adrian Flux Man of the Match award.