Ipswich YM 24 Fakenham 22: Title is secured despite first defeat of the season
- Credit: Archant
Fakenham travelled south to play Ipswich YM last Saturday in the penultimate league fixture of the season in what ended up a bitter sweet occasion.
The visitors, who had won all their games before the weekend, were looking for the single point to seal the Eastern Counties Shield title while a win for Ipswich YM would confirm second place and promotion for them.
With the sun out and a large crowd, it became clear that this was to be the toughest game of the season. Ipswich YM were the first to score, building from a well organised driving maul and attacking around the sides of the subsequent breakdowns until they could cross the line.
Fakenham responded with their own score, a stylish passage of play allowing Jordi Walker to exploit a gap in the defence and score under the posts. Another try for Ipswich along with one for Luke Taylor and a penalty from Lloyd Marshall took the half-time score to 12-15 in favour of the visitors.
Despite being just on top, Fakenham were not playing anywhere near the standard they had shown all season and their errors eventually played into the hands of a well organised Ipswich team.
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Following a period of good play at the back of the scrum from Norfolk Brewhouse man-of-the-match Rob Ward, Fakenham broke up the blind side and for the second time in the game Walker scored under the posts, extending Fakenham’s lead to 10 points.
The stronger Ipswich pack spent long periods camped inside the Fakenham 22 and the pressure eventually told as they crossed the line with 10 minutes to go. The momentum was with the home side now and Fakenham tired from the long periods of defensive commitment, with Ipswich’s pack crossing the line for the fourth time with the last play of the game to take the score to 24-22 and seal the win.
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Whilst Fakenham will be disappointed with suffering their first loss of the season, they still gained the losing bonus point which confirmed them as champions.
Congratulations are due to coach Paul Richardson, captain Tom Bane-Young and all the players on a fantastic achievement — promotion for a second season in a row.
Fakenham II had their final league fixture of the season and played at Norwich Medics II. Scores from Neil Ryder (2), Brandon Fairbrother and Adam Steele pushed the Fakenham side to a 29-17 win giving them a final position of fifth in Eastern Counties 3 North, a good solid achievement. Captain Adam Steele said “Thank you to all the players and their families for the effort this season. I’m proud of all of them and am looking forward to carrying what we have built into next season.”
On Saturday Fakenham travel to Hadleigh for the final league game of the season. Following that both sides play at home on April 28 contesting the Banham Cup against near neighbours Holt.