Crusaders 14 v Fakenham 10 – London 3 Eastern Counties

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The last Saturday in September saw Fakenham travel to Crusaders for their London 3 fixture. The game was preceded by the first Crusaders lunch of the season, an excellent affair that was a lot more memorable than the game unfortunately.
Both sides seemed to have the same problem with unsettled sides for various reasons and it soon showed. Crusaders were dominant right from the kick off and looking dangerous in the loose although the first few minutes showed that lack of discipline and basic errors would play an important part in the game for both sides.
8 minutes into the game Crusaders gained from their early pressure on Fakenham and were awarded a relatively easy penalty to give them the lead, however the kick was errant and the score stayed level. A red card for Fakenham’s Jack Powell-Thorne for an apparent unsafe tackle should have given even more impetus to Crusaders but after a few more minutes of back and forth it was actually Fakenham who were given a penalty which they duly took, Tom Bane-Young making use of an in off the

posts to gain a lead in the game at 0-3, right against the run of the play. A further 10 minutes of error strewn play followed before Crusaders had a chance to redeem the score when they were awarded another penalty straight in front of the posts. The kick however was wayward and you just knew it was going to be one of those days.
At half time the score was still 0-3 with Crusaders having had probably some 70% of possession but with last minute errors they were not able to capitalize on it. Their play in the loose was always dangerous for Fakenham, their lineout seemed to be functioning well, however Fakenham consistently ran around their lineout as though it wasn’t there at times. So far it had been a really strange game.
The restart showed little difference with Crusaders having the majority of the possession and scoring a very well deserved try after 15 minutes of play, this time the kick was successful and Crusaders had a 7-3 lead and something to build on.
The score must have woken Fakenham up as they suddenly found themselves well into the Crusaders 10m area and piling on the pressure. The pressure told and Crusaders found themselves in the card receiving position, this time a yellow, but it evened the sides to 14 all. Still Fakenham kept up the pressure in Cru’s line, one try attempt was held up but the next saw Tom Bane-Young’s arm appear from the mass of bodies to get a try back for Fakenham. T B-Y duly slotted the conversion and Fakenham were back in the lead at 7-10.
Fakenham seemed to have found the way to play but one man down for most of the game plus a few injuries was starting to tell and Crusaders took back the impetus forcing themselves well into the Fakenham half.
Fakenham’s defence still withstood the attack for long periods with Crusaders camped almost on their line until the inevitable happened and Crusaders ran in a try the short distance from the base of the scrum to score just before the whistle blew. With another successful conversion the home side came out winners by 14-10 with Fakenham gaining a losing bonus point. All in all it was probably a game that was best forgotten.
Unfortunately, Joe Bane-Young was red carded just before the whistle for indiscipline and coupled with the other red card will give Fakenham some problems for the next few weeks. This is going to be a hard and unforgiving season. Next week sees Fakenham at home to Thetford start 3:00pm.