Crusaders 39, Dereham 12 – Proud effort fails to cause Norfolk Junior Cup shock
- Credit: Archant
Dereham travelled to Crusaders on Saturday in the semi-final of the Norfolk Junior Cup and fell short of the mark despite a spirited display.
The visitors were in confident mood when they arrived at their hosts who play in Division One of the Eastern Counties League, a tier higher than the away side. Dereham started the match well, being competitive in the rucks and tackling well in midfield. Following two rucks in succession, Dereham were awarded a penalty in the sixth minute from which Marcus Evans narrowly missed a score.
The game continued to ebb and flow both ways and it wasn't until the 25th minute that the first points were added. Crusaders gained a penalty and a quick tap kick saw them move the ball the width of the pitch to score a good try in the corner. A second score in the 32nd minute knocked the away troops' confidence despite their bright start. And they soon conceded another two tries to go into the break 22-0 down.
Dereham had more defensive work to do at the start of the second period with Will Affleck and Connor Clarke making a series of excellent tackles. Their team's cause was not helped when number eight Alex Gilly Amys had to leave the field through injury.
Crusaders added to their score shortly after, forcing over from a scrum and Dereham were unlucky to lose the influential Affleck to the sin-bin for persistent offside. The visitors were not about to roll over however and Lewis Smith crashed over. The hosts returned the favour before Harry Graham touched down under the posts to allow Dereham to add a converted score.
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Skipper Rhys Leeder said: 'The boys are obviously disappointed but can take much from their performance and application.
'We must pick ourselves up now and be ready for our last league match at Fakenham on Saturday.'
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Fakenham lost the other Junior Cup semi-final 8-3 at same level Broadland-Great Yarmouth.