Norwich hit back to boost survival bid
Norwich 31, Mersea Island 18: Norwich recorded an important victory to give their hopes of avoiding relegation from London 2NE a big lift, while consigning their opponents to the drop.
Norwich 31, Mersea Island 18
Norwich recorded an important victory to give their hopes of avoiding relegation from London 2NE a big lift, while consigning their opponents to the drop.
Mersea used the first half wind advantage well, keeping the home side pegged back, and took the lead from a five metre lineout, using their large pack to good effect to go over for the first unconverted try.
The visitors then converted a simple penalty before Norwich eventually settled.
But Mersea held firm and scored their second try when full-back Rob Micklethwaite received the ball with two Mersea backs in his face 10 metres from the line.
With no support the ball was stolen and a simple try resulted.
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The conversion was missed and the score moved to 13-0 at half-time, with Scott Hancocks narrowly missing a penalty kick.
In the second half Norwich scored their first try with some nice interplay between the forwards and backs that found Jon Bugg on the right touchline with just enough space to score.
Micklethwaite landed a superb conversion from the touch-line and Norwich were back in it.
A few minutes later, from a scrum within the opposition 22, the ball came out on the blind side where Bugg picked up and strolled over the line, catching the Mersea defence off guard. Micklethwaite's conversion attempt slid just past the upright.
Norwich quickly earned a penalty in front of the posts which Josh Ives could not slot but they were not held at bay for long.
From a Mersea penalty the ball failed to find touch and was run straight back, with Hancocks having space to score in the corner. Ives slotted an excellent conversion from the touchline. Norwich now started to impose themselves and caught the Islanders napping with a quick tap penalty, pushing the ball wide to Calum MacAulay on the left wing, who finished off his maiden first XV try. Ives kicked another good conversion to make it 26-13.
Mersea struck back with a try very similar to their first but Norwich had the final say as they disrupted a Mersea line-out in the opposition 22 and forwards Adnitt and Cook pounded away, dragging in the defence, and the ball fired out across the backs to gave Hancock space to score. Ives missed the conversion but the game ended with a much relieved Norwich team consigning Mersea Island to relegation.
Norwich must now make sure they do not join them by putting in some strong performances in the few remaining games.