London 2NE: Basildon 15 Norwich 13
10:11 13 January 2014
A fightback came too late for Norwich as they took only a bonus point from a match they could easily have won.
Due to the condition of the home pitch, the game was switched to a local council owned ground, which had a firmer but sloping surface.
Having been narrowly beaten at home Norwich felt they had a good chance of securing the win, and started well by taking the game to the home side.
Although securing a reasonable amount of possession they were finding it difficult to break through.
The first score came as Basildon attempted to run the ball from defence. A pass was fumbled and caught by Dave Micklethwaite and the ball was moved wide and passed to Brown who rounded three defenders to score in the corner, the kick being missed.
The Basildon pack began to assert themselves and made several useful drives in to the heart of the Norwich defence. This resulted in one of their back row diving through a knot of defenders to level as the kick was missed.
The kick-off from Norwich did not go 10 yards and Basildon elected for the scrum and forced Norwich back. At this stage the visitors began to concede a number of penalties which forced them back to their own line, although the defence held firm. Norwich then suffered a further setback when Wall left the field injured and Selby was yellow carded for handling on the floor.
A further penalty from Norwich resulted in Basildon launching an attack which was fumbled, allowing the ball to be regained. There were a number of errors creeping into the game from both sides and this, together with the number of penalties being awarded, mainly against the visitors, resulted in a period of stalemate. Basildon were next to score when their No 8 drove through several tackles to touch down, with the kick once again being missed.
In the second half Norwich continued to suffer from conceding too many penalties, and it was fortunate that Basildon didn’t have a recognised kicker on the field
Following yet another penalty they drove from the line-out before Norwich defended and cleared the ball. Basildon attacked again and Norwich prop Hosking intercepted and charged upfield before being brought down. Basildon drove back and Norwich were penalised yet again for not rolling away. Basildon ran the ball to the blindside and scored.
The home side were now on top and had several near misses including a knock-on as they drove over the Norwich line.
A number of the Norwich team put in some big hits and this led to Greenwood being yellow carded for use of his elbow and Darby being pulled up for a body check.
A further Basildon attack was cleared by Ben Girling, who was then hit after the ball was kicked.This allowed Norwich to work the ball downfield and seemed to revitalise the team, with Brown kicking a penalty to bring the score to 15-8.
The Norwich pack then drove the home side back and Girling broke down the blindside and fed Chris Wall, who had returned to the fray, to score. The last period was all Norwich and they were unfortunate not to score again.
Whilst the losing bonus point was welcome, this was an opportunity missed.