A brisk wind and the threat of rain showers awaited Fakenham as they travelled to Woodford for this London Counties 3EC game and the good crowd in attendance were duly treated to a good workman like performance from both sides.
Fakenham were the first to trouble the scoreboard, with the wind behind them in the first half, they were awarded a penalty in the 8th minute just to the right of the posts which Lloyd Marshall ably slotted between the posts to take the lead, 0-3.
A mere three minutes later they increased their lead to 0-10 with a try from a line out at which Joe Bane-Young popped a pass to Ashleigh Stewart who ran over the line completely unopposed, Marshall duly converted.
Play for the next 10 minutes was largely uneventful with both sides having problems with the windy conditions and Fakenham in particular having some difficulties with the referee and the penalty count. In the 23rd minute Woodbridge were awarded another penalty for offside and the Fakenham captain was duly warned about any more repeat infringements. Woodbridge took advantage of the situation working
the ball wide and scoring a try in the corner, the conversion into the wind was unsuccessful, 5-10.
The light was getting increasingly poor but thankfully the newly installed floodlights were switched on which made life considerably easier. Eight minutes later Woodbridge took advantage of the referee giving Tom Bane-Young a yellow card, as he had earlier warned, and drew level after their right wing ran wide and slipped a pass to the burly Woodbridge prop Banthorpe who crashed over for a crowd pleasing try. Once again, the conversion was missed, 10-10
Just before half time, with Bane-Young back on the field, Fakenham regained the lead after a driving maul gained ground following a lineout and after a number of passes Lyam Thorpe touched down and with the conversion missed the half time score was 10-15.
After the restart the first 20 minutes resulted in no addition to the score line as both sides seemed determined to be camped around the half way line with the impetus constantly changing from one side to the other.
The windy conditions were not helping Fakenham’s lineout and Woodbridge, who had controlled their lineout reasonably well, stole the ball from Fakenham on a number of occasions, however finally the stalemate was broken after 24 minutes when a weaving run from Tindall who broke several tackles resulted in Tom Bane-Yond receiving the ball wide on the right wing just inside his own half, and from there he outpaced the defence to score under the posts, Lloyd Marshall was successful with the conversion, 10-22.
This seemed to galvanise Fakenham as four minutes later Marshall combined with Tindall in midfield who then released the ball to Adam Lingwood who offloaded (from the ground as he was tackled) to Thorpe and the ball was moved wide on the right to Damon Howick who ran 40 yards for a try in the corner. The conversion was missed 10-27.
After a succession of pick and drive’s Woodbridge drew closer with a converted try in the 32nd minute but they were unable to exert any sustained pressure on the Fakenham defence in the later stages of the game.
The full-time score remained at 17-27 giving Fakenham a bonus point win and lifting them to 6th in the division at the half way stage, which with more home games than away in the second half and more player availability has to be seen as a good sign for the rest of the season.
The next game is not until 5th January with a 3:00 pm start at West Norfolk (presumably under lights). Fixtures should also hopefully be available for