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Warriors too strong for Mellish in league clash

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West Norfolk Warriors avenged their home defeat to Mellish in style on a beautiful day for rugby.Mellish were a strong team who relish the scrum and breakdowns, so West focused their warm-up on backs moves and clever forward plays knowing that they would have to use their skills and fitness to come away with anything.From the start, the home forwards dominated the scrum to turn over several set-pieces.West, however, were strong in defence and their lightning-quick backs were already making strong line breaks.Six minutes in, hooker Rosie Lingham made a strong run on the left wing and offloaded to sister Georgie who fended off two Mellish players to run in the first try under the posts and Jade Nicholson slotted home the conversion. From the restart, West pushed forward again with centre Sarah Hodson making metres.A knock-on gave Mellish a scrum which they handled effectively to score a try on the right wing. The visiting defence was up quickly on Mellish, applying pressure and causing errors, with the front row dealing with the pure power of the opposition.From a West scrum in the middle of the field, scrum-half Amber Wadlow fed Georgie Lingham who turned on the gas, side-stepping the Mellish defenders for a try, which was converted by Nicholson. Mellish kept pushing back through their forwards but their efforts were shut down by West’s quicker and fitter forwards.West now had control of the game and number 8 Eleanor Navrady made some impactful pick-and-go’s to get the ball out to the West backs. Georgie Lingham delivered a fly-half master-class, kicking, passing and running in two more tries before half-time.The forwards kept spoiling at the breakdown to give the backs the platforms they needed to make their runs. One of the best was from Jess Milnes, apparently still fresh after National Schools 7s midweek, who ran from deep onto a ball from Hodgson, bobbed and weaved through the flailing Mellish tacklers to score her first try.A yellow card for prop Jenna Moxey, for boring in, saw West down to 14 and camped out on their own try-line at the end of the first half, but they were like a brick wall, withstanding everything Mellish could throw at them. The second half started with more physicality from Mellish with the second-row combination of Alice Middleton-Jones and Ruth Denham, seemingly everywhere, spoiling everything. West pulled off an audacious lineout move with the forwards dummying the whole of the Mellish pack and Nicholson making 25 metres.Forwards EJ Watson and Navrady joined the backs in making big breaks, the latter making a huge run and offloading to Milnes to run in her second try.Another long-range score was run in by winger Megan Burroughs, who gilded past the Mellish backs with a 50-yard run to score under the posts.Mellish rallied midway through the second half, but crunching tackles by Burroughs and flanker Tiff Turner stopped them in their tracks before the ball was recycled to add their second try.West bounced straight back, a brilliant run by Aaliyah Featherby gave Georgie Lingham the ball and she needed no second invitation to run in another try.Home heads refused to drop and their big second row scored under the posts which they converted.The last try belonged to West and Jess Milnes, whose quick hands and nimble feet saw her sprint past the Mellish players and over for a try, successfully kicked by Nicholson for her eighth conversion of the game.Coach Jane Middleton-Jones said: They say that forwards decide if you win a game of rugby and the backs by how much.”I was proud of our pack today – they absorbed so much pressure from a bigger, stronger team but eventually their training and fitness paid off.”Our backs were ridiculously quick and worked so hard on their moves. They deserved those tries today.”Forward of the Match: Alice Middleton-Jones; Back of the Match: Megan Burroughs.



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