Photo gallery: Late try completes comeback to seal promotion for Thetford

Final match winning try. Thetford started the second half 10-21 behind, but scored three tries to win 27-24 and top the league. Photo: Bill Smith Final match winning try. Thetford started the second half 10-21 behind, but scored three tries to win 27-24 and top the league. Photo: Bill Smith

Monday, March 24, 2014
6:30 AM

Promotion was secured in dramatic fashion by Thetford – thanks to a late try to put them ahead for the first time in their title shoot-out with local rivals Thurston.

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Final match winning try. Thetford started the second half 10-21 behind, but scored three tries to win 27-24 and top the league. Photo: Bill SmithFinal match winning try. Thetford started the second half 10-21 behind, but scored three tries to win 27-24 and top the league. Photo: Bill Smith

Thetford went into their penultimate match of the season tied on points with the Suffolk side at the top of the Eastern Counties Two table.

They are now assured of promotion to Eastern Counties One now though, thanks to three tries from Malik Locke, one from Josh Clark and seven points kicked by Matt Briggs.

The success was sealed in dramatic fashion though, in front of over 200 spectators at Two Mile Bottom on Saturday, rampaging back from 21-0 down.

An early converted try from the Thurston full-back was soon built on after ill-discipline from the home side gave away a penalty and a quick tap-and-go saw the visitors score another try, which was also converted.

Thetford v Thurston rugby on Saturday. Thetford started the second half 10-21 behind, but scored three tries to win 27-24 and top the league. Photo: Bill SmithThetford v Thurston rugby on Saturday. Thetford started the second half 10-21 behind, but scored three tries to win 27-24 and top the league. Photo: Bill Smith

The quick-thinking Thurston flanker then capitalised on another penalty with a quick tap and scored under the posts, which was also converted for the 21-0 lead.

It wasn’t looking good for Thetford but after a series of rucks Thurston gave away a penalty 30 meters out and Briggs kicked to put Thetford’s first points on the board.

From the kick-off Thetford again won good ball and with the forwards of Hopkins, Cotton and Groombridge drove at Thurston and the impressive Stenton’s superb pass found winger Locke who outpaced his opposite number to score, with Briggs converting.

It left the score at 21-10 at half-time, but the comeback was well under way.

Thurston started the second half well and were trying to use their backs but one pass too many was intercepted by Clark (pictured left) who outpaced the defence to score in the corner. With the conversion missed, Thetford found themselves 21-15 down.

Thurston extended their lead to 24-15 with a penalty but Thetford’s pressure finally told as quick ball out of the ruck and passing through the backs and Locke was on hand to score his second try of the game for 24-20.

From the restart it was Thetford who pushed into the Thurston half before kicking for a lineout on the Thurston 22 and again winning good ball and good passing through the backs put Locke in a one-on-one situation. His step inside wrong-footed his opposite number and he skipped his way through to score the try of the match.

Briggs added the extras for 27-24 and a kick into touch saw the referee blew the final whistle to spark the promotion celebrations.

A home victory against Fakenham on April 5 will wrap up the title for Keith Rix’s side.

See more photos in the gallery at the top-right of this page and to purchase photos, go to archantnorfolk.newsprints.co.uk or call 01603 772449

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