Rugby disappointment

Dereham 10, Ipswich YM 19DEREHAM slipped to a disappointing home defeat in their penultimate Eastern Counties Two fixture of the year after a keenly fought match on Saturday.

Dereham 10, Ipswich YM 19

DEREHAM slipped to a disappointing home defeat in their penultimate Eastern Counties Two fixture of the year after a keenly fought match on Saturday.

The visitors pinned Dereham back in their own half for most of the first quarter. Dereham had a number of opportunities to clear their lines but a combination of poor communication and pressure from Ipswich forced them to defend for long periods.

When the first score came it was predictably following drives from the Ipswich centres eventually leading to a move down the blind side, a broken tackle and an overlap. The score was converted.

Dereham came back into the game and had their best spell in the second quarter. The line-out which has been a strong feature of their game this season was producing good clean possession and after one squandered chance they got it right when Malcomson collected the ball at the back, and the pack drove on a rolling maul towards the try line. Edwards spun off the back of the drive and over the line to level the scores thanks to a Drewery conversion.

Until half time Dereham were in the ascendancy. Quicker distribution, sniping runs from Fish and direct running from Reeve, Chester and Watcham threatened to improve the score line but Ipswich were proving combative and Dereham would later regret not capitalising on this period.

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Dereham started the second half well and increased the lead with a penalty from Drewery. Chester came close after hacking through a loose ball only to see it smuggled to safety by the last line of Ipswich defence.

With the game finely balanced tempers became frayed and the referee was forced to show a succession of yellow cards to two Dereham players and one from Ipswich.

Ipswich exploited the blind side and scored in the very corner to get their noses back in front 12-10.

Leeder and Brown came on to add fresh impetus to the Dereham pack, but despite some big tackles the final phase of play and the numerical advantage proved too much.

Barry Rolfe made the most of the opportunities he had and came close to going clear on the right wing before being bundled into touch. Dan Ponder had a very safe game at full back, confident under the high ball and strong in the counter attack.

With a couple of minutes to go Dereham threw everything into one final attack. After Leeder's drive down the centre of the pitch, the ball was turned over by Ipswich who gratefully put the game beyond reach with a breakaway try.

Scott Malcolmson reflected on the missed opportunities: “We had the chances to make this game safe but paid the price for a lack of clinical finishing, some poor discipline and some poor decisions.

With one match to play at Hadleigh next week we are safe in the league, but I'd like the team to put in a strong performance in our final match as a springboard for next season.”

The Second XV restored club pride with an emphatic 53-10 win over Swaffham.

Kev Powley's team outclassed the home side in all departments and run in a succession of tries with particular mention to Rob Walker, Romoi Basecala, Winston Ratekove and Duncan Eaglesham.

The club has a busy fixture list over the weekend: the first team travel to Hadleigh, the second team play West Norfolk at home. KO for both games is 3pm.

The Barbarians field sevens sides at U15 on Saturday and U16 on Sunday in two county tournaments hosted by West Norfolk Rugby Club.