Woodbridge Warriors defeat tough Thetford side
- Credit: Archant
Woodbridge Warriors won a hard-fought game with Thetford, 38-35, in the Eastern Counties League, on Saturday.
The hosts grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat with five minutes left to play, Christian Hoolihan diving under the posts with Woodbridge, at that stage, four points behind.
The Warriors scored first when Ady Sanday dispossessed Thetford centre Josh Clarke, and the winger sprinted 80 metres to score.
Clarke gathered the restart as Thetford attacked, but bad handling only yielded scrums to Woodbridge until they were penalised, allowing fly-half Matt Briggs to kick three points.
The Warriors suffered a series of penalties that held back their attack, but used the long line-out ball to Tim Johnson well. He gained ground, supported by Nick Woodley and Dan Taylor, only for a penalty attempt from Sam Jackson to go wide.
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Thetford came back quickly only for Richie Brand to knock on a certain run-in, before his team-mate, centre Will Martin, found a gap to dive over for a try.
Clearly fired-up, the visitors’ no 8 Zak Pizzey put in a punishing run, forcing a long clearance kick as both sides sought territory with the aerial ball. Eventually, full-back Ryan Gardiner gathered in the home 22, ran 40 metres unchallenged, and scored.
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Minutes later, from the restart, a turnover scrum, followed by some great driving from Woodley, got the ball to Sanday who put in a blistering run. He sidestepped three defenders, to score his second and, with Woodbridge 13-12 down at half-time, it set up an exciting second half.
Woodbridge applied pressure from the whistle at the start of the second half and won two penalties. From the second, James Gilbert off-loaded for No 10 David Price to score.
Thetford then raised their game and centre Martin dashed into the Warriors’ 22 and lock Ashley Cotton drove hard, but it was a move started by Pizzey and Dan Field, from an attacking line out in their own 22, that saw 70 metres gained and got Brand over to score.
Minutes later and continued forward momentum from a driving maul saw Martin score for Thetford.
Then, centre Clarke worked a two-on-one to score on the left wing.
The home supporters were further silenced as a pass from Woodbridge’s Sam Jackson was intercepted by Field who stretched the lead to 16 points as Thetford looked to take the game away with a bonus point.
Woodbridge were not done however and some attacking runs from Rose and Jackson took play to the Thetford five-metre line where the forwards got Jamie Gilbert over the line.
Sanday lifted the support further with a scorching run down the right wing, followed by Thetford’s full back knocking on a high ball and allowing a drive and quick pass to Sanday who scored his hat-trick.
With five minutes to go the drive was on and white scrum-capped Tim Johnson bounded down the right wing as a passionate pack recycled to No 13 Hoolihan to dive over under the posts.
n Ipswich YM enjoyed a good 21-17 victory at home to Crusaders.
The visitors were first to score, taking a seven-point lead, before the hosts missed a penalty kick opportunity on 20 minutes.
Crusaders led 12-0 at the break after securing another try and stretched their lead to 10 within a minute of the restart
However, Wes Chetty got YM back in the game, Tom Potter converting to bring the score to 7-17.
After 25 minutes, YM’s Jamie Emerson scored a converted try near the corner to bring the hosts within three points, before Ollie Hall sidestepped his way through the visitors to score under the posts. Potter slotted over the conversion to give the home team a 21-17 lead, which is how the game ended.