West Norfolk beaten in Suffolk

Ipswich 41 West Norfolk 24

West Norfolk returned home empty-handed from their second trip to Ipswich in the space of three weeks.

The Gatehouse Lane outfit were excellent in the first half against a side who were relegated from Regional 2 Anglia last year before Ipswich took control in the second half.

Head coach Darren Clarke said: “Once again we were competitive for 40 minutes. With the wind and the slope in our favour, we dominated territory and scored three good tries.

West Norfolk's Quinton Houston. Picture: Roz Bridges
West Norfolk’s Quinton Houston. Picture: Roz Bridges

“Two yellow cards towards the end of the first half slowed our momentum and gave Ipswich a foothold in the game.

“The home team dominated the early stages of the second half as we battled against the elements with 14 men and this evidently became the turning point. We didn’t react quickly enough at times and our ball retention was poor.

“Again there were positives to take from the game as we continue to build through the season. Best wishes to Angus Bell who sustained a nasty knee injury when scoring a great try.”

Following a bruising encounter the previous week with Southwold, West were without Nic Bull, Rocco Jones and Joe Lewis Mitchell but welcomed back Dan Stephenson, Eddie Crewe and Olly Denton to the fold.

Kicking off, things look promising for West who put their scrum troubles from the previous week behind them creating a solid base for captain Jack Wicks to feed the backs at scrum-half.

West earned themselves an early penalty to put themselves in a good position for the lineout however a resolute Ipswich defence would clear their lines and nullify the threat.

West Norfolk's James Dobbler being tackled. Picture: Roz Bridges
West Norfolk’s James Dobbler being tackled. Picture: Roz Bridges

What Ipswich didn’t bank on were the razor-sharp reactions of Wicks who pounced on an Ipswich dropped ball and sprinted his way to the try line and fly-half Sam Moses converted.

Ipswich responded after spotting space out wide and, with a long pass, the Ipswich fly-half fed their winger who bamboozled West Norfolk’s defence for a converted try.

Despite a yellow card to West prop Jake Huggett for a high tackle, the visitors hit back quickly.

A long pass from No.8 James Dobbler found centre George Lemon who in turn put Lemon in space.

Lemon, using his neat footwork, passed to Angus Bell for a run-in, and Moses converted once again.

West Norfolk's Eddie Crewe. Picture: Roz Bridges
West Norfolk’s Eddie Crewe. Picture: Roz Bridges

With momentum in their favour, West Norfolk continued to test the Ipswich defence through the likes of Jamie Williamson and Alex Miles.

Quick balls from the ruck to Wicks were finished by full-back Quinton Houston in the corner to give West a 19-7 lead.

Following the try, the visitors were forced into a reshuffle with Bell leaving the field with a nasty knee injury.

Denton came on at 9 and Wicks moved into the centres.

With West Norfolk unsettled and Moses receiving a yellow card for slapping the ball down, Ipswich capitalised before the half-time break with a well-orchestrated back move to reduce the visitor’s lead to just five points.

Unfortunately, the interval was not kind to West who were immediately caught napping as Ipswich ran in three unanswered tries to give the hosts a 12-point lead early in the second half.

Eventually, West Norfolk found their composure with Lewis Stewart, Chin Newton-Walters and Dan Stephenson leading the defensive effort.

Scrum action between Ipswich and West Norfolk. Picture: Roz Bridges
Scrum action between Ipswich and West Norfolk. Picture: Roz Bridges

Momentum began to even out and the likes of Dobbler, Hart, and Burgess made dents in the home defence.

A glimmer of hope would shine through as scrum-half Denton found JJ Hart close to the Ipswich line.

Hart broke the tackle and delivered a Fijian-style offload to fellow forward Stewart who trotted over the line to bring the score within seven points.

It was only a glimmer as Ipswich added two further tries before the full-time whistles.

Adrian Flux Man-of-the-Match: Lewis Stewart (sponsored by Rae Rudd Ltd).