Dereham RFC upbeat

Dereham 10, Southwold 28Despite the disappointment of the defeat and an unflattering score-line, Dereham were still upbeat knowing they had given a very good account against one of the strongest teams in the league and had managed to keep playing entertaining rugby.

Dereham 10, Southwold 28

Despite the disappointment of the defeat and an unflattering score-line, Dereham were still upbeat knowing they had given a very good account against one of the strongest teams in the league and had managed to keep playing entertaining rugby.

Dereham take a long trip to Harwich and Dovercourt next, more determined than ever to notch their first league win.

Dereham had the first chance to put points on the board when the visitors' back line fumbled the ball under pressure from the home back row and failed to release the ball on the floor. Gareth Drewery stepped up to take the penalty but saw his kick drift to the right and Southwold cleared.

Five minutes later the roles were reversed as Southwold were presented with a kickable chance from an offside at the breakdown. This time the ball just missed the mark.

Southwold exerted a period of sustained pressure, using their big forwards and peels from the line-out to open a way through the home defence.

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Dane Canning, Nick Reeve and Carl Edwards kept the visitors at bay as the tackle count rose, and Dereham had nearly made it to the break without conceding when a penalty dragged the defence to the right and left Southwold's No 8 free in the centre of the field. When the ball was switched back to him, he just managed to break the line with two Dereham tacklers trying to bring him down.

Dereham got off to the worst possible start in the second half when an innocuous penalty in the middle of the field was quickly taken by Southwold. An excellent passage of play saw the ball moved through a number of phases with support for a second converted try.

At 14-0 down, Dereham saw the match slipping away. Malcolmson reminded them of the game plan and demanded the next score be a home one. With enthusiastic support from the touchline, the team produced 30 minutes of the best rugby seen at Moorgate in a number of seasons.

The pack tore into Southwold to produce consistent, clean possession for Chris Fish to distribute to the backs. Three drives up the centre of the park produced room up a large blindside and the backs combined to sprint down the touchline into the corner.

Ten minutes later and Rolfe found some room on the wing to make a decisive break before releasing Pilbrow to score out wide again. With both conversions missed, the score was back to 14-10 and Dereham were still in the driving seat.

Southwold's answer was to slow the game down. A number of stoppages for minor knocks allowed them to re-group and bring on three fresh players. In the heat, Dereham started to flag and as they continued to throw everything into attack, it inevitably made them vulnerable to the counter-attack.

It remained nip and tuck into the last 10 minutes, until a missed tackle in a stretched defensive line allowed Southwold to stretch their lead to 21-10.

Then in the dying seconds a break from Southwold's substitute player/coach drew two defenders and put their centre through to score.

Crusaders II 14, Dereham II 10

It looked ominous before the game, with Dereham not knowing if they would have a team, but luckily they managed to pull one together.

Dereham started strongly, with the forwards winning almost all the ball, and a youthful set of backs causing all sorts of problems for the opposition defence.

Their pressure paid off when a ball was spun wide in their own 22, allowing the centre room to run at the defence. After many side-steps and quick feet, he was caught about five metres from the line, but good support from Duncan Eaglesham led to a try under the posts. Spurgeon slotted over for the extra two points.

It became an even contest, with the scores level after Crusaders found a gap in the defence. But soon after, some sloppy hands in a ruck gifted Dereham a penalty in front of the posts, which Spurgeon kicked to make the score 10-7 at half-time.

The second half simply did not go Dereham's way. After some sustained pressure on the Dereham line, Crusaders were given a controversial try. One of their big forwards broke the line and appeared to be held up, but the ref awarded the try.

Not long after, Dereham struck a long kick from their own 22 into the Crusaders' 22 where it was spilled by the full back. George was chasing up and as the ball went loose, he jumped over the player on the floor, who stuck his leg up and tripped him over, preventing a try from being scored. A penalty was given, despite Dereham believing they should have had a penalty try.

After this episode the game turned into a scrappy affair.

Next, Dereham II have a local derby at home against Swaffham. Kick-off 3pm.

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