London 2NE: Norwich 20 Chelmsford 7
12:53 27 January 2014
Norwich recorded a deserved win against fifth-placed Chelmsford to boost their chances of preserving their London 2NE status.
Norwich dominated the early exchanges in this match which they desperately needed to win having lost the first two games after the Christmas break and they were rewarded after six minutes with a well worked try. JC Brown, playing at full-back, finished off a flowing move by going over in the corner after left wing Jonny Wheater had picked up a stray Chelmsford kick out of defence. Brown could not convert his score.
He also missed a penalty opportunity some five minutes later. However he made no mistake with the conversion of prop Matt Selby’s try after 17 minutes made possible by excellent running from initially centre Nick Austin and then carried on by his brother Laurence, playing at six, to give Norwich a 12-0 lead.
Norwich increased their lead with a further try from prop Peter Hosking who went over in the corner from a well worked move at the front of a lineout near the visitors’ line. Again this was not converted.
Any thoughts that Norwich supporters had of an avalanche of points were soon dispelled as Chelmsford came more and more into the game with some fine defence keeping them at bay. Norwich’s cause was not helped when referee Ed O’Dell sent hooker Matt Girling to the sin bin after persistent Norwich offending. At half-time the score remained 17-0, which proved to be just about enough as Norwich turned round to face the wind which in the first half they had used well with fly-half Chris Parrott making a lot of ground with some excellent kicking out of hand.
Chelmsford soon showed that they were not there just to make up the numbers and scored straight from the start of the second half when full-back Jamie Ash showed a clean pair of heels to the Norwich cover defence and scored a great try halfway out which was converted by Rhys Mason to reduce the arrears to 10 points.
Norwich attacked again and were unlucky not to score another try. A combination of white line fever and the concession of penalties provided relief for the visitors. As it was Brown converted a penalty after 13 minutes to increase the Norwich lead.
A lovely break by Wheater, who had moved to fly-half when Parrott was replaced, should have resulted in a try under the posts but the ball went loose and with it the opportunity for a bonus point. There was no further score but Norwich were well worth their win which was needed in the knowledge that there are some difficult games to come.