L&Y use their strength

Lowestoft & Yarmouth 17, West Norfolk 12WEST Norfolk belied their lowly league status to put up a creditable performance but ultimately the stronger side came through to deservedly win with something to spare.

Lowestoft & Yarmouth 17, West Norfolk 12

WEST Norfolk belied their lowly league status to put up a creditable performance but ultimately the stronger side came through to deservedly win with something to spare.

The playing surface was remarkably solid and gave both teams the opportunity to play some open rugby. But given the physical differences in the sides, L&Y preferred to keep the ball tight and grind away the new year cobwebs.

In addition to neither side being able to train for almost a month, Wests made the trip with a few first choice players missing and equally L&Y had a few reshuffles in the front and back rows and in the backline.

After a bright first couple of minutes from L&Y, they unwisely attempted to run the ball from their own line. After a fumble and a change of heart the clearance kick was charged down and Wests collected to drive through for a gift of a try.

L&Y shrugged their shoulders then got back to their usual game and with some clean first-phase ball fly-half Scott Nelson kicked the territory for the forwards to pressure the West line. Wests defended furiously and, after a couple of driving mauls were allowed to be illegally hauled down, a petulant stamp by L&Y prop Richard Bristo saw him in the sinbin and L&Y back near halfway.

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They managed to continue their domination of the set piece however, and on his arrival back in the game it was obvious their driving game was reaping penalties on every occasion. Instead of going for posts, Nelson kicked to the corners and eventually captain Marc Thomas was driven over the line for Nelson to convert.

With the wind advantage in the second half, Wests wisely used the boot to pin L&Y back near their line. The visitors attacked in waves but didn't seem to be structuring anything solid when suddenly the seas parted and their centre jinked his way untouched straight through the middle and under the posts for any easy conversion and a 12-7 lead.

Again L&Y knuckled down to dominate possession. Once in sight of the Wests line, L&Y resorted to the driving maul, and despite several warnings Wests were lucky not to lose a couple of players to the sinbin. Midway through the half a powerful scrum laid the platform for Tom Castleton to feed Nelson charging through and over the line to even the score. He missed the conversion, but L&Y now had total control.

In the final 20 minutes they produced their best rugby. From a catch and drive in the right-hand corner Thomas scored his second try to take the lead, then the home side continued pressuring the Wests line and playing the percentages to close out the final minutes.

MoM: Lewis Davey.