Norwich Medics 41 Dereham 14 – Respect in defeat as the badge is worn with pride
- Credit: Archant
Enforced absences — even from the previous week's team — meant that a make-shift Dereham side was assembled involving past players and some veterans.
It was always going to be a tough afternoon for the visitors, made even worse with a further injury during the warm-up. They set about the task manfully but the early signs were not good when, in the fifth minute, Medics won their own line-out in a dangerous position, passed inside twice and a centre darted through to score. Dereham responded well when some good work in the maul put them close to the Medics line but the ball was eventually cleared. Medics scored again midway through the half when a Dereham clearance was unluckily charged down.
Various Dereham players were struggling a little at this stage although the scrum was holding its own despite the two prop forwards, Steven Young and Graham Eaglesham, being the two oldest players on the field by some margin. The unfortunate Young was forced off with a knee injury and two quick Medics tries were to follow.
Captain Marcus Evans, normally a loosehead prop, was having to perform as a fly-half playmaker and powered through several tackles before being brought down just short of the line as the half ended.
The home team, 24-0 ahead, would have added scored again soon after the restart had it not been for Craig Chester's try-saving tackle. Medics were camped in the Dereham 22 and it didn't take them long before they added two more tries, the second as 61-year-old Eaglesham picked up an injury. He left the field, resulting in uncontested scrums thereafter, to applause following a man-of-the-match display.
The visiting team could easily have capitulated but a superb delayed pass from Evans found Liam Chester out wide and he crossed over, the score converted well by the assistee. With their tails up, Dereham added another thanks to Andy Brooke's memorable (converted) 30-yard dash.
Evans said: 'With many players playing out of position and a few 'old-timers' in, we knew it would be a backs-to-the-wall match against a good Medics team. The club spirit really shone through though.
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'Players of old rose to the occasion and I'm proud of each and every one who all played for the badge.'
Coach Leon Pears added: 'We lost the game but gained the respect of the opposition.'
Dereham are hoping for better availability for Saturday's derby at Fakenham.