Having won their initial game of the Shield, Fakenham 1st XV came into this game expecting a stern test. Their opponents were Ipswich YM 1st XV, a team who had come to this point with 14 out of 15 bonus point wins so far. The weather was perfect; the pitch was drier and a big crowd had turned up at the club expecting good rugby.
Fakenham started the game and were quickly on top. Tries for Fakenham came in the third (Jack Powell-Thorn), sixth (James Howell), twelfth (James Howell) and seventeenth minutes (Jack Powell-Thorn), Lloyd Marshall converted 2 of them. The early dominance came from Fakenham’s total control of the game. In the first 20 minutes YM could not get any possession and the pressure showed with the Fakenham forwards running both at the fringes of the ruck and further out, drawing in some strong tackling from YM.
With the YM defence occupied coping with the forwards, the backs had the space to run and make good ground. Fakenham's first 4 scores all came from the forwards whose work rate was exceptional. Special mentions should go to Jack Powell Thorn and Rob Ward, both of whom played well. Ward was awarded the Norfolk Brewhouse Man of the Match award for his hard work.
Finding themselves 24 points down within 20 minutes the YM team re-grouped and showed
why they had won their league. When they got the ball in hand, they could retain it and put many phases together. Their first try came from some sustained pressure with the pack running hard and breaking down the Fakenham defence. From this point on both sides appeared much more even and traded attacks for the next 15 minutes with neither side managing that final clinical finish to score. The first half finished with a fifth score for the home side, this time coming from their captain Tom Bane-Young. Neat offloading and looping between the backs found Bane-Young in the open with a 5 meter run in for the grounding. With the conversion added by Marshall this took the half time score to 31-5.
The second half was far more even with 3 tries being scored by each side. Fakenham’s came from Jordi Walker, a second for Bane-Young and one from Luke Taylor. Walker’s try was a pure expression of strength as he took 3 YM defenders 5 meters in to the try line. Bane-Young’s and Taylor’s scores both came from simple play, drawing a defender, giving an easy pass and allowing the space to open.
2 of YM’s tries came from further forwards pressure and running whilst their final one was an opportunistic run from the fly half when the ball came loose and he was able to hack the ball forward and be the first one to gather it. The final score was 52-22 in favour of the home side, an excellent result.
Fakenham will be happy with this performance. Scrums and Lineouts were much more solid and secure than some recent fixtures. They will be pleased with the manner in which their tries occurred, shared amongst both backs and forwards. Fakenham's next fixture is in a fortnights time when they travel to Thurston for a top of the table meet and what will be another tough fixture.
Eastern Counties 3 (north)
Fakenham 2nd XV 24 - 31 Norwich 3rd XV
A close fixture saw the Norwich team snatching a win by scoring a converted try with the final play of the game. It was a closely fought affair with both sides working hard around the park. Fakenham will be pleased to have remained competitive in the forwards against a physically much bigger pack and this principally came from an excellent work rate as exemplified most by Jeremy Barker and Lewis Bray, both of whom were awarded a joint Man of the Match award. Tries for Fakenham came from Murray Tindall (2) and Jack Whitesides both of whom will be looking to earn a spot in the 1st XV. All three tries were converted by 2nd XV rising star Jack Bryan-Green who also added a penalty.