Fakenham overcome stern challenge to maintain perfect record
PUBLISHED: 08:09 17 November 2017
Mike Wyatt ABIPP
Fakenham came into this game expecting a tough encounter, Norwich Union being the only team to have put any significant points past them so far this season.
The teams play opposing styles of rugby – Union predominantly using a strong, well-drilled pack against Fakenham, a side looking to use the pace and ability of their back line.
Union were the first to score. Gathering the kick-off and putting together a solid 10 minutes of phases using their bigger pack to run aggressively at Fakenham, the home defence held out for a long period but eventually the pressure told and Union went 7-0 ahead.
Fakenham regrouped and almost immediately struck back, using their own pack to drag in the Union defence and allowing space for Jordi Walker to run into a gap and through to the line. Lloyd Marshall converted to make it 7-7.
The next score also went in Fakenham’s favour shortly after. This time Fakenham moved the ball through short quick offloads between the forwards to the left of the field, setting the Union defence on the back foot and exposing space back to the right side for Murray Tindall to attack, using a strong hand-off to help himself on the way to the line.
Another Tindall try from Fakenham, not converted, along with a penalty kick to Union took the half-time score to 19-10.
The second half saw Union coming back hard and again using their bigger pack to batter the Fakenham defensive line. Fakenham consistently gave away penalties, allowing Union to kick the ball to touch and employ their best attacking weapon, a driven maul. Three second-half tries for NU came from this tactic, with Fakenham only able to respond with one try to Walker and a penalty for Lloyd Marshall. The game ended after a 10-minute period of Union being camped just outside the Fakenham try line, but fortunately the defence held. Fakenham will be proud of their defence but they will also need to resolve their high penalty count if they are to maintain their position at the top of the league.
At the final whistle the score was 29-25, the difference being three conversions scored by Marshall as opposed to the one by the Union fly-half – it was another bonus point win, albeit by a narrow of margins, with Union also gaining a bonus. Fakenham’s next game is at North Walsham II on November 25.