Fakenham fightback is all in vain
- Credit: Archant
It was a hard-fought encounter at the Stringer Ground on Saturday as Fakenham went down 25-24 at home to Beccles in the London 3 Eastern Counties League.
The match was one of two halves, with the first 40 minutes all about Beccles. Although Fakenham made some chances for themselves, Beccles' larger pack were dominant in the scrum and capitalised on that for their first try after 10 minutes.
Their second try followed after 25 minutes with a Beccles player managing to reach from a tackle to ground the ball over the line. Ten minutes later Beccles added a third, driving over from a five-metre scrum. They kicked a penalty soon afterwards, taking the score to 0-20 to the visitors after 35 minutes.
Fakenham were quick off the restart though, with good breaks from Rory Singleton and Jordii Walker and a strong effort from Rob Ward to get them back up to halfway. A penalty gave them more territory and a lineout on 5m, which although taken cleanly, the opponents managed to steal. A brilliant turnover from Rob Ward gave Fakenham the momentum back. Quick hands through the backs span the ball out to Damon Howick who went over for the try, converted shortly afterwards by Lloyd Marshall, taking the score to 7-20 at half-time.
Fakenham came out fighting for the second half and were quick to add points. Some good pressure from the restart gave them a firm position in Beccles' half. A great line from Lloyd Marshall with a lovely offload to the captain exploited a gap in the defence for Jordii Walker to score the try.
They soon added another, with explosive speed from Luke Boynes up the wing to gain Fakenham 60 metres before a perfectly-weighted pass to Lloyd Marshall for the score. Lloyd Marshall converted, taking the score to 19-20 with 25 minutes to play.
A tense period followed with pressure from both sides but neither finding a way through. A Beccles maul looked to be gaining territory from a lineout just inside the Fakenham half. The home side managed to stop it, although in doing so Rory Singleton was sent to the sin bin.
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The man disadvantage didn't deter Fakenham whose defence continued to hold strong. A weak Beccles' pass was a gift to Fakenham who intercepted and span the ball out to Jordii Walker on the wing whose pace was unstoppable. He broke out of Fakenham's own half, shrugging off several tacklers as he went to score a brilliant try, taking the score to 24-20.
Beccles made ground from the restart and pushed for the tryline from a scrum five metres out. It was reset several times in a nervous period of play, but the Fakenham pack did brilliantly, holding strong for scrum after scrum against the larger opposition. After several resets, Beccles were able to get quick ball out to their fly half, who scored the try. The conversion went wide, putting the tally at 24-25 to the visitors with mere minutes left to play.
Following the restart, in the final minute of the game, Fakenham were awarded a penalty. In a hugely courageous decision, Lloyd Marshall stepped up to the tee for an enormous kick from just inside the Beccles half. It was an excellent effort but agonisingly, the kick fell only a yard or so short and the match finished at 24-25 to Beccles.
Fakenham will have been disappointed to lose this game, but there were brilliant efforts all round and man of the match performances from Luke Boynes and James Howell. Next week the first XV travel to Ipswich YM and the second team are away at Thetford.