Warriors defeated in final home game of the season

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Two weeks after a thrilling, high-paced game at Kesteven, where West Norfolk Warriors walked off the pitch as victors, it was time for the return leg at Gatehouse Lane.Without Georgie Lingham, who was away at the international 7s camp, and several of West’s experienced backs, the team looked very different this time.But with the return of Amber Wadlow at scrum-half and a strong forwards pack, West Norfolk were looking forward to their last home game of the season.West started strongly with their trademark style moving the ball left-to-right and dominating at the scrum.Penalties from Kesteven saw the strong boot of full-back Jade Nicholson repeatedly punishing the opponents to gain a strong field position for West but frustrating handling errors and repeated infringements denied them from turning their superiority into points.After 20 minutes, another monster penalty kick from Nicholson pinned Kesteven on their five-yard line, an accurate lineout throw from Rosie Lingham to EJ Watson ended with a long-awaited try for ex-captain Tiff Turner.After the restart, it was more of the same, West working hard but for little reward.There were strong line breaks from prop Cora Hunter and number 8 Eleanor Navrady, but a physical game took its toll on both sides.Kesteven played some smart rugby getting it out to the flanks and West were unable to regroup as Kesteven scored.A carbon-copy move resulted in another quick try two minutes later.Another try came Kesteven’s way before half-time and the visitors went in ahead 5-17 at the break.Early in the second half, West were at the Kesteven five-yard line when scrum-half Wadlow looped round and cut in to score.Kesteven made changes and their scrums were stronger, giving them solid platforms to attack from.Brilliant tackling from centres Megan Burroughs and Tally Read and Nicholson stopped many runs and certain tries to keep West in the game.A dubious yellow card for West’s Eleanor Navrady saw West reduced to 14 and two quick tries during this sin-bin period cost the home side dearly.West Norfolk continued to compete with Rosie Lingham and Sarah Hodson pushing forward and making ground through quick penalties.A crunching tackle by Nicolson just inside Kesteven’s half saw West turnover the ball and prop Hunter came away for a 42-yard try under the posts, neatly converted by Nicholson.Kesteven added two tries late on, the second arriving with West on the attack and looking for a bonus point, to seal a 43-17 victory.After the game, coach Jane Middleton-Jones said “Whilst it wasn’t our day today it was another brilliant match against Kesteven, who are a fantastic team who we hope will be joining us next year for the Centenary celebrations.”Our women worked so hard today and can hold their heads high and we go again next weekend.”West Norfolk Warriors travel to Mansfield on Sunday.

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