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Dereham battle well

PUBLISHED: 16:35 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:29 07 July 2010

Dereham RFC, despite a much improved performance, failed to come away with a result, losing 19-0 to hosts Southwold.

A gale-force cross wind made an open expansive game impossible for both sides and certainly the Dereham backs were frustrated by the lack of opportunities.

Dereham RFC, despite a much improved performance, failed to come away with a result, losing 19-0 to hosts Southwold.

A gale-force cross wind made an open expansive game impossible for both sides and certainly the Dereham backs were frustrated by the lack of opportunities.

The welcome return of Nick Reeve at inside-centre paired him with Craig Chester on the outside. Both have a strong tackling game and did much to snuff out the Southwold attack along with Taff making a sound first team debut at

full-back and Drewery at fly-half.

With play largely confined to the forwards a bruising physical encounter unfolded. The game ebbed and flowed as the packs ground out the yards to try to secure some territorial advantage.

It was clearly not going to be a high- scoring game and defence was key so Dereham were well satisfied to turn around at half-time with the score 0-0.

Rolfe and Ponder covered in well from the wings and the back row were still containing the fringes at the breakdown.

Winchester switched to No8 and used his physical presence to take the pressure off the half-backs as the scrum was under pressure, but eventually a misunderstanding in midfield let Southwold's centre cut a line to score.

Once again the pack drove upfield, but only to see Southwold turn over and loft the ball high for the wind to carry it to touch.

A second error from an attempted back-row move and Southwold scored.

Harradine was replaced by Head and Leeder by Sutton, but despite the introduction of fresh legs Southwold's stamina was proving stronger, and when Fish was sent to the sin bin a third try was on the cards. With a wing uncovered Southwold exploited the gap to wrap up the game with five minutes to spare.

After the match Scott Malcolmson was pleased with the character the side had shown: “This loss is really the end of any promotion aspirations for this season, but we have got the chance to consolidate our position in the top half of the table.

“If we play with the commitment we did today we can finish the season strongly and we still have the prospect of a semi- final next week.”

This Saturday the first team visit Swaffham in the Norfolk Plate semi-final and the second team visit Watton away (both 3pm). On Sunday the Barbarians U15 side also visits Watton (11am).

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