West Norfolk ladies march on in cup

West Norfolk Ladies hosted a mixed Diss team as they powered through their second match of the Norfolk Cup.

Agreement was made for the game to be 12-a-side, making the pitch feel twice its usual size.

Some might say that it was typical weather for rugby: cold, wet and muddy with wind that made passing and lineouts tricky from the start.

Action from West Norfolk Ladies Norfolk Cup game against Diss at Gatehouse Lane. Pictures: Ed Navrady (63402411)
Action from West Norfolk Ladies Norfolk Cup game against Diss at Gatehouse Lane. Pictures: Ed Navrady (63402411)

From the initial kick-off West immediately went on the attack and the first scrum of many came within the first five minutes.

With conditions worsening to horizontal stinging rain the ball became increasingly hard to control with knock-ons and mishandling by both teams.

Diss broke through the West defensive line a couple of times but continuous pressure and a strong link between the forwards and the backs led to vice-captain Jade Nicholson running the ball over the line after 20 minutes of hard slog rugby.

Nicholson was on a roll and after another relentless attack on the Diss line, she went over under the posts and emphatically converted, putting West into a 12-0 lead at half-time.

Diss at no point gave up and within minutes of their kick-off for the second half had scored and converted under the West Norfolk posts.

Retaliation came quickly with Eleanor Middleton-Jones flying down the wing following a period of flowing passing play by the backs for her first try for the team.

Zoe Sharp then took the kick to extend the gap between the sides to 12 points.

At this point ducks and seagulls were enjoying the wet conditions on the pitch and the ducks were even calling the forwards into scrums.

With ball hunter Rosie Lingham (sponsored by Fendicks Fishery) taking a break, Raven Wales came on as hooker, diversifying from her usual role on the wing.

From that first scrum came a play from the back seeing the ball cross the pitch with Sarah Hodgson (sponsored by Hodgson’s Forge) scoring in the corner.

Substitutions saw Charlotte Wales returning to the front row, giving a mother/daughter combination at the head of the scrum.

Nicholson powered back over the Diss line, hat-trick on board converting her try, putting a definite full stop on her time in the pitch.

With the last play of the game Hodgson flew forward and over the line to imprint the score as a 38-7 victory to West Norfolk.

Despite the foul conditions supporters on the balcony never wavered and Nathan Hollands kept both sides spirits high with music after each breakthrough play.

Forward of the match was the springy Esme Peers and back of the match the twisting and slippery Sarah Hodgson.

A special mention must be made to the effort that the Diss team and coach made to produce a team to enable their to be a competition for the Norfolk Cup.

His kind words to West Norfolk at the end of the match were much appreciated and encompassed the spirit in which the sport is played.