Dereham 55 West Norfolk II 7 – Skipper confident ‘wobble’ is over
- Credit: Archant
Dereham are back on track following a fine Eastern Counties Two North win on Saturday, writes Tim Evans.
The team were keen to secure a win following a recent lapse in form and duly obliged the Moorgate faithful.
A spring-like afternoon greeted the teams and it was West who forced the early pressure with Dereham full-back Isisar Bobo relieving with a good kick. Dereham quickly established themselves and following a spoiled West line-out, the home team won two excellent rucks before the ball was passed through all the backs for Bobo to score his first of the afternoon in the 10th minute.
Minutes later, the powerful home forwards set up a superb driving maul from eight metres out to allow prop Lewis Smith to touch down. Fijian full-back BoBo couldn't stay out of the game and produced an elusive run before releasing winger Brett Stolworthy for an excellent try in the corner.
Dereham indiscipline reared its head — albeit briefly — with two penalties conceded in as many minutes when in good positions and West were certainly meeting the challenge with some tough tackling in midfield. Following some tit-for-tat kicking, a knock-on in the Dereham 22 saw West threaten the home line but, despite holding West up twice, the visitors eventually crossed on their third attempt.
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Dereham knew they were in a match now and spurned a real opportunity when Stolworthy was greedy for more position when touching down and was held up well by a West tackle.
He had made amends within three minutes later however with a clever try in the corner which Ethan Jones converted superbly from the touchline.
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Coach Rob Jones' half-time talk fired the Dereham team and as early as the third minute of the half, a great Dereham scrum and quick ball saw Bobo caught five yards from the line. However, quick thinking and superb hands from prop Marcus Evans saw him flick the ball to Stolworthy to secure his hat-trick. Another great wide conversion from Jones followed. Dereham were on the rampage and, with their scrum now dominant, Dereham number eight Matthew Rees added to the score.
West responded well and the Dereham defence was tested but stood strong with captain Dan Ponder, Evans and Bobo all making telling tackles. The latter set up the next try evading two tackles and drawing a third before passing inside to Rudyard Gant (making a welcome return from injury) to score. With the game drawing to a close, Bobo capped a man-of-the-match display with his second try showing the West defence a clean pair of heels to secure his hat-trick.
A pleased Ponder said: 'We were anxious to put in a solid performance after a couple of below-par matches recently and I was really pleased with a good all-round display to keep the coach happy.
'Hopefully we've got over our mid-season wobble and we're certainly looking forward to another good test at Diss II (Saracens) on Saturday.'