West Norfolk 48 Fakenham 17: Long break takes it toll as Fakenham are well beaten

West Norfolk's No 8 Jamie Williamson scores the first try of the game despite the close attentions o

West Norfolk's No 8 Jamie Williamson scores the first try of the game despite the close attentions of Fakenham'’s Rob Ward and Brett Stolworthy Picture: MIKE WYATT - Credit: Archant

After finishing off the year with a win against Woodbridge and also beating league leaders Holt, Fakenham seemed to be adversely affected by a four-week lay-off.

Saturday’s performance was disjointed, the ball was frequently coughed up and first up tackles were brushed aside.

West Norfolk played well and fully deserved the win, with their big forwards more than making the gain line and giving good ball to their very sharp half back pairing.

Early pressure from West Norfolk saw them held up twice with some good work by Joe Bane-Young and Lyam Thorpe. When the try did come from No 8 Jamie Williamson it also came with a yellow card for Fakenham. This knocked the confidence of the away side and West Norfolk scored again almost from the restart after some poor defensive work.

Fakenham hung on and produced a try of their own some 10 minutes later, slick passing by Damon Howick seeing Brett Stolworthy cross over for a converted try that made it 14-7. Hopes that this might be the catalyst for a more cohesive display were soon dashed as the home side kicked two penalties after Fakenham’s midfield were caught offside. Fakenham then gave away the ball, resulting in a converted try as West Norfolk moved 27-7 ahead.

The next 30 minutes belonged almost entirely to the home side who scored three more unanswered tries to take the score to 48-7.

Fakenham were the stronger side from that moment onwards and Rob Ward broke and slipped the ball to Harry Richardson who passed to Lloyd Marshall. He threw a magnificent dummy before slotting through a lovely weighted grubber kick for Murray Tindal to score in the corner. From the kick-off Fakenham regained possession and another good inside pass saw Tindal run in from 50 metres out to score a superb individual effort.

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Man-of-the-match for Fakenham was Ashley Stewart who never seemed to stop running all afternoon.

There were glimpses of what this exciting Fakenham team can do and coach Paul Richardson said: “Four weeks is too long between games. I am sure, with this game under their belts and two more training sessions before our next game (at home to Crusaders on Saturday at 2pm) we will be back to our best.”

Merit table fixtures have now been organised for Fakenham II with the first game at home against Broadland II on February 2.

Watton 64 Dereham 19

Dereham visited Watton in a derby on Saturday where their disappointing and frustrating season continued.

Dereham’s strongest team would be a match for any side in this league but unfortunately they have only been able to field this on rare occasions this season.

Saturday was not one of them and they slipped to a heavy defeat. As early as the seventh minute a sloppy Dereham pass when under pressure allowed Watton to find their speedy winger to score under the posts. Dereham’s response was instant when captain Gough picked up from the back of a ruck to run in from 15m.

Dereham were kicking away good possession too often though and were punished when another high kick was ran back and passed inside for a Watton centre to score. The visitors did not learn their lesson and the same tactic was punished again 10 minutes later for another home score. The Dereham pack were on the front foot however and dominated the scrum but their backs were unable to capitalise with some poor passing and decision making.

Dereham kept in the game when some quick inter-passing found Humphrey on the crash ball to score. Another home try followed at the end of the half after several missed tackles to leave the half time score at 33-12.

The start of the second half saw the visitors on the front foot with Gough influencing the game with a 50m kick for touch and a 50m break, being caught just short of the line. The score came however when Gary Lloyd — making his Dereham debut — was set up to cross by a superbly timed pass from the Dereham skipper. At the other end, Dereham full back Jack Moon made two try saving tackles as the game opened up.

Pressure from the home team eventually told when they crossed after a series of phases. The Dereham defence was tested, with several five metre scrums, being repelled but another home score came with a great break from halfway by an athletic second row player. Three more Watton tries followed in the last 10 minutes before the match ended at 64-19.

After the match Dereham coach, Leon Mears said: “This was a frustrating afternoon. Some late call-offs and unavailability meant we came into a difficult match under par and short in numbers. Nevertheless, those who played gave everything and can’t be faulted. Let’s hope we can regroup before another derby at Swaffham next week.”