West Norfolk 13 Woodbridge 22 - Warriors take first win of the season

Jamie Smith turns the burners on for Woodbridge. Picture: SIMON BALLARD

Jamie Smith turns the burners on for Woodbridge. Picture: SIMON BALLARD - Credit: Archant

London 3 Eastern Counties West Norfolk 13 Woodbridge Warriors 22 The hosts started strongly, pressuring the visitors and drawing a penalty after a dart by flanker David Evans and full back Jake Richardson, who sadly broke his leg in the ruck and play was delayed an hour, writes Simon Ballard.

After the ambulance left Sam Moses took three points.

Then aggressive Warrior tackling earned a penalty line-out and a great drive from Dan Knights and Owen Scott saw JP Hart pass quickly to Lee Barton who scored. Game on!

Woodbridge kept Norfolk pinned in their half despite them getting the better of the scrums. Possession was kicked away and the Warriors welcomed the attacking opportunity, Matt Bowman made 20 metres, moved the ball wide, and Barton nearly scored again. Woodbridge harried and rucked well to disrupt and frustrate – captain Tom Stokes, No8 Jono Cooke, lock Aldis Salavejs and front row led with charges until a line-out was moved quickly cross field via Hart for Bowman to dot down, with Jamie Smith converting.

Woodbridge's Angus Clogg on the run. Picture: SIMON BALLARD

Woodbridge's Angus Clogg on the run. Picture: SIMON BALLARD - Credit: Archant

West Norfolk worked themselves upfield to camp on the Woodbridge five-metre line where Luke Lovell, Paul Denton and Paul Bridges drove hard and nearly crossed the line. A reset and fast hands from 9 Olly Ridout and Moses gave Olly Denton the try.


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Play stayed central with both sides working hard to keep ball in hand but being forced to kick. A Warrior ruck eventually gave clean ball for Hart to Sam Hallows, who scored.

The second half started with a barrage of Woodbridge belligerence as they worked well at the breakdown and kept the ball, winning a penalty under the post for Smith to take three points.

West Norfolk and Woodbridge hold a minute's applause in memory of Josh Gilbert. Picture: SIMON BALLA

West Norfolk and Woodbridge hold a minute's applause in memory of Josh Gilbert. Picture: SIMON BALLARD - Credit: Archant

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Norfolk countered on the left with big prop Paul Bridges putting in some strong carries and breaking tackles. The penalties began to mount and yellow cards were received by both teams as frustration raised tension.

In the final ten minutes Woodbridge received a succession of penalties in defence and Norfolk capitalised with a forward’s strike through Edney Costa in the corner. But it was not enough to deny Woodbridge their first win of the season.

- Before the match, the teams held a minute’s applause in memory of Josh Gilbert, who collapsed and died while playing for Thurston earlier this month.

Dan Knights, right, leaps for the Warriors. Picture: SIMON BALLARD

Dan Knights, right, leaps for the Warriors. Picture: SIMON BALLARD - Credit: Archant

Lee Barton and Matt Bowman team up to halt West Norfolk's Mark Tilbrook. Picture: SIMON BALLARD

Lee Barton and Matt Bowman team up to halt West Norfolk's Mark Tilbrook. Picture: SIMON BALLARD - Credit: Archant

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