Fakenham begin defence of Norfolk Intermediate Cup with victory

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Fakenham 31, Lakenham Union 12Norfolk Intermediate CupFakenham played their final home game of the season against Lakenham Union as they began their defence of the Norfolk Intermediate Cup, sponsored by R&L Engineering Limited, at the Stringer Ground.Lakenham finished joint top of the league below, having lost one game all season, so Fakenham knew they would be in for a tough fixture.There was a pre-match luncheon for 100 people, sponsored by A.O.T Engineering Ltd, and they enjoyed the food and service provided for by Bayfield Catering. With the sun out and it staying warm and dry, both sides went out to entertain the large crowd. It took a little time for both sides to settle into the rhythm of the game, but it was the away side that troubled the scoreboard first. Some 12 minutes into the game, Lakenham Union powered over the line to take the lead, with a successful conversion added.Fakenham responded midway through the first half, as the ball found full-back Murray Tindal in space. We all know how deadly a proposition that is by now, and he used his pace to evade a number of attempted tackles before rounding the final defender and dotting down. Fly-half Lloyd Marshall added the extras to draw level.Ten minutes later the home side took the lead through scrum-half Jack Bryan Green, as he provided the support all good nines do before getting the ball down just to the left of the posts, despite the attentions of his opposite number. Marshall slotted the conversion and with no more scores before half-time, it was 14-7 at the break. The second half started in an attritional fashion, as neither side was able to make the breakthrough. Fakenham had a number of opportunities to score but were kept out by the resolute Lakenham Union defence, no more so than when number eight Rob Ward was held up over the line.Eventually, 25 minutes into the second half, the home side managed to get some more points on the board. A penalty to the left of the posts, between the away 22 and 10m lines, gave Marshall the chance to kick at goal. He duly nailed an impressive kick in windy conditions to give Fakenham a ten-point lead. Lakenham Union continued to battle and fought their way back into the game with the next score. A strong carry down the middle, before a good offload and some smart hands put them over the try line as the defenders ran out, with less than ten minutes to go. The conversion was unsuccessful on this occasion.A frantic finish then followed as Fakenham responded almost immediately. Another strong carry from Tindal saw him take the ball to the Lakenham Union 22, before offloading to Marshall for him to go under the posts unopposed. He then converted his own try to give Fakenham a 12-point lead.A minute later the home side scored again. Second-row Matt King put in a powerful carry on the halfway line, before offloading as he hit the deck as he was tackled, finding Tindal for him to show off his pace again, evading the final defender once more to score. Marshall added the conversion and with no more points added afterwards, the final score was 31-12. A great result for Fakenham, though perhaps a bit harsh on Lakenham Union, who were close until the last five minutes.The Barsham Brewery Man of the Match went to Damon Howick. He made a big impact in the centres after coming off the bench, tackling very well and distributing impressively too.Thank you to Katering 4 U for the teas enjoyed by the teams.This weekend sees Fakenham travel to Beccles for the next round of cup fixtures, knowing a win would put them into the Norfolk Intermediate Cup final. All travelling support would be welcome.

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