West Norfolk youngsters show tenacity in first game of 2024

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West Norfolk Under 14s began 2024 with a hard-fought victory over their Norwich counterparts at Gatehouse Lane.The cold weather did not hinder West Norfolk who started the game on fire, returning the opening kick-off with a try for Sam McKenzie.Dominant line breaks from man-of-the-match, Jac Fox, and Oliver Cooper had Norwich back pedalling and the handling of the backs presented McKenzie with the opportunity to score.The try was converted by Christophe Maule giving West Norfolk the perfect start.West Norfolk gainfully resisted a physical Norwich team until the power of the Norwich scrum led to a Norwich try.The half ended with West Norfolk in reasserting their authority as Fox continued his marauding play but West Norfolk were just a pass away from extending their lead, instead settling for a 7-5 advantage going in to the half.After the break, Norwich used their power game to gain the ascendancy.West Norfolk once again showed their organisation and tenacity in defence, resisting wave after wave of Norwich attack.In withstanding this barrage, even being temporarily reduced to 14 players, West Norfolk continued to tackle, compete and fight against their opponents numerical superiority.The forwards readjusted and attained parity in the forward battle.West Norfolk began to grow in confidence and dominant carries of the first half returned to their play.A strong carry out of their own 22 gave the hosts quick ball which was fed along the back line to Tristan Farao who used his electric pace to race down the right touchline, almost to be thwarted by a desperate tap tackle but was able to regain his footing and cross the try line, giving West Norfolk a 12-5 lead.A last-minute interception try from Norwich proved only to be a consolation score as West Norfolk emerged victorious 12-10.Head coach Andy Barrett was unconcerned by the rustiness in his side’s display, being happy with how his young chargers played and that they had restored the momentum they had built before the winter break.West Norfolk squad: Rhys Allerton, Tom Soar, Jack Skinner, Oliver Cooper, Jac Fox, Edward Frost, Harry Hollands, Freddie Dickson, Logan Barrett, Tristan Farao, Christophe Maule, Amaru Casaleiro, Charlie Green, Caidan Hopkins, Joe Bowen, Jacob Hancock, Felix Slingsby, Patrick Oughton, Alfie Bilham, Sam McKenzie , Oliver Stevenson , Oscar Ratcliffe, Fletcher Milnes.

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