West Norfolk clinch huge win on the road

Ipswich YM 18 West Norfolk 19

Depleted West Norfolk dug deep to maintain their 100 per cent start to the London & SE Division One Eastern Counties season.

Full-back Hayden Revell held his nerve with a last-gasp penalty to hand the team a thrilling win on their travels.

Head coach Darren Clarke said: “Unavailability hit us hard this week due to a combination of injuries, work commitments, holidays and social events.

The chase is on between Ipswich YM and West Norfolk. Picture: Gary Dod
The chase is on between Ipswich YM and West Norfolk. Picture: Gary Dod

“Ten of the squad from last week were unavailable, add to that our previous injuries and we were pretty much missing a whole team. “We were indebted to those second-team players who made the commitment to travel to our longest away trip – the victory would not have been possible without them.”

“In terms of the game, we were disjointed in attack but we defended well. Ipswich YM is always a tough place to go against a well-organised and committed side.

“With further injuries to key players during the game the victory was totally down to the heart and passion of the players.

“It wasn’t our best performance but it will probably be our best win of the season.”

Missing a number of key players from their victory the previous weekend, West Norfolk made one their longest away trips to Ipswich YM who have a formidable record at home.

With a number of unavailabilities due to work commitments and injuries, the visitors welcomed Liam Hind, Morgan Smith and Eddie Crewe into the starting line-up at prop, flanker and scrum-half respectively whilst a number of development players reinforced the bench.

Lewis Stewart tackling for West Norfolk. Picture: Gary Dod
Lewis Stewart tackling for West Norfolk. Picture: Gary Dod

In an evenly-contested opening quarter, West took time to settle into their rhythm.

An early injury to fly-half Sam Moses made matters worse for West who had to reshuffle their back line with Lewis Rudd moving to the centres.

Ipswich kicked the first points of the game from a penalty, however it wouldn’t take long for West to add a penalty of their own through the boot of full-back Hayden Revell.

The hosts added a further three points through a penalty before both Ipswich and West received yellow cards.

Ipswich would suffer a minor implosion conceding two penalties and a further two yellow cards in nearly as many minutes with Revell kicking one to level the scores.

West used their numerical advantage as No.8 James Dobbler crashed over in the corner following a flowing move before Revell added the extras to give the visitors a seven-point lead going into the break.

After the break, Rocco Jones and Morgan Smith held West Norfolk’s defensive effort together whilst more strong carries by Dobbler and Landle would test the YM defence.

Scrum action between Ipswich YM and West Norfolk. Picture: Gary Dod
Scrum action between Ipswich YM and West Norfolk. Picture: Gary Dod

Revell missed the opportunity to extend West’s lead with a penalty narrowly going wide of the posts.

Ipswich fought back to level the scores with a converted try and the game seemed to be slipping from West Norfolk’s grasp when the home outfit made their size and strength count to go over again for an unconverted score.

Trailing by five points, West Norfolk eventually worked their way deep into the YM half and, much to the delight of the visitors, were awarded a penalty for their efforts which Revell kicked to take the visitors to within two points of the home side.

A frantic last few minutes saw West Norfolk throw the kitchen sink at the hosts.

With the referee signalling last play West would look to maintain possession just inside the Ipswich half hoping for a break. Eventually the referee’s whistle would blow but thankfully for West it would be to signal a penalty with the host’s being punished for ill-disciple at the breakdown.

Now with the quandary of whether to kick for the win or aim for the lineout, up stepped the confident Revell whose reliable boot had already found the posts from touch earlier in the game.

It was possible to cut the atmosphere with a knife but Revell would remained calm to kick the ball cleanly.

To the delight of the West Norfolk players and supporters, the ball sailed through the two uprights for three points and a single-point success for the Gatehouse Lane outfit.

Adrian Flux Man of the Match: Rocco Jones, sponsored by Fishers of Hunstanton.