Dereham 19 Fakenham 22 – Visitors on a roll after Eastern Counties Two North derby victory

Fakenham’'s John Wilson, left, and Ashley Stuart, right, in harrying action. Picture: MIKE WYATT

Fakenham’'s John Wilson, left, and Ashley Stuart, right, in harrying action. Picture: MIKE WYATT - Credit: Archant

Fakenham travelled to Dereham on the back of a seven-game winning streak, full of confidence and fielding a team stronger than the last time the two sides met, writes Mike Wyatt.

The game started with Dereham on the attack, but the new-found discipline in defence from Fakenham repelled them and allowed them to launch attacks of their own. Fakenham spurned a chance to take the lead when Tom Bane-Young missed a penalty kick.

Dereham breathed a sigh of relief and then set about building the pressure and the breakthrough came when the number eight sneaked down the blindside of the ruck and beat the covering tackles to score close to the posts (converted).

This spurred Fakenham to double their efforts and launch a multi-phased attack culminating in a slick handling move with Harry Richardson sprinting to the line on the wing and making for the posts to give Lloyd Marshall an easy two points to square the game at 7-7.

Dereham again pressed forward to test the Fakenham defence and in the most part it held firm but for one moment’s lack of communication which gave Dereham the opening they were looking for and they exploited it, scoring a try close to the posts which was also converted.

Lloyd Marshall uncharacteristically hooked a penalty kick across the front of the posts as the half ended 14-7 to Dereham.

Fakenham were determined to get on level terms and produced one of the best handling moves of the game which saw all the Fakenham backs involved and finished by full-back Marshal, who missed his own kick to leave the score 14-12.

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Fakenham needed more points but Dereham were not going to give up easily and made it as difficult as possible. Fakenham drove deep into the Dereham 22m area and were rewarded with a 5m scrum. The breakthrough came when Howard Kellock recycled the ball in the resulting ruck and out to Paul Richardson who had to move quickly and improvise under pressure and he opted to pass the ball between his legs to Tom B-Young who forced he way over the try line. Lloyd was asked to take the kick, which was slightly to the right of the posts, but the kick was slotted right through the middle of the posts tro maker it 14-19.

Fakenham knew they could not relax and had to push forward again to try to open the gap to more than a converted try. Dereham were defending fiercely but Fakenham kept control of the ball until one ruck when Dereham could not resist having one more try to turn the ball to their advantage. The referee adjudged they had infringed and awarded a penalty to Fakenham. Bob Sayers decided to take the points on offer and called on Lloyd (now playing stand-off) to take the shot. He stepped up confidently and slotted the kick to increase the lead to 14-22.

Dereham now took over the attack, trying to get back into the game and claw their way to a win and their efforts were rewarded with a try but it was unconverted to leave the score 19-22. Fakenham had to endure relentless attacks but held fast until the final whistle to win this EC2 North game.