Rugby mountain too steep for Dereham

Dereham 0, Ipswich YM 27A win for Dereham would have seen them climb the EC Two table, and after a narrow defeat at Ipswich earlier in the season the home side were confident of taking the points.

Dereham 0, Ipswich YM 27

A win for Dereham would have seen them climb the EC Two table, and after a narrow defeat at Ipswich earlier in the season the home side were confident of taking the points.

That confidence was quickly proved misplaced when within 15 minutes Dereham found themselves three scores down with a mountain to climb.

Looking for space behind the defence Dereham elected to repeatedly kick midfield, but instead of space all they could find was the safe hands of the Ipswich full back and the cutting pace of the Ipswich left winger.

The wayward kicking combined with lacklustre tackling left Dereham's back line defence all at sea for the first two tries. The third was the product of some sloppy lineout from the forwards which Ipswich quickly turned into attack, cutting through the line once more.

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Dereham's captain Scott Malcolmson called the team together whilst the conversion was taken and called for more discipline and better decision-making if the score wasn't to turn into a cricket score.

Certainly the second quarter saw an improvement as Dereham cut down on the chancy kicks and put Ipswich under more pressure. Ledward had been brought in at No 8 for the injured Wombat, and justified his selection with a series of crunching tackles and counter-attacks.

Dereham's scrum was under pressure but managed to gain some parity using the wheel to enable Fish and Edwards to attack the Ipswich scrum half but attacking opportunities remained scarce.

Briefly it looked as though Dereham would batter their way over for a try as the forwards managed to recycle three stages of possession. They were camped on the Ipswich try line for several drives but the ball was moved wide without any real pace or conviction and Ipswich were able to break down the attack and kick long to relieve the pressure.

It was a further 20 minutes before the next points, which inevitably went the visitors way from an innocuous penalty kicked to keep the score at least ticking over. Jason Watcham, having made some strong runs after a long lay off, was replaced by Taff on the wing and Mark Dagless came into the front row to add his physical presence and fresh legs.

As Ipswich started to fade the Dereham scrummage looked more comfortable and Fish started to use the back row to give another dimension to the Dereham attack. A try was starting to look on the cards but the last phase always seemed to go astray, and when a loose ball was fly hacked through for a break away Ipswich score the game was all but over.

Both coach and captain were disappointed with Dereham's performance. Frank Affleck reflected: 'If it hadn't been for the tackling of Ledward, Edwards and Drewery we could have been looking at a 50 or 60 point defeat this afternoon.

Our decision making was poor and at times the tackling was weak which led to the first three tries. We have to play with more conviction and a much better awareness if we are to achieve our target of a top half finish in the league.'

Certainly Dereham will be looking to heed that advice and step up a gear before the next, difficult fixture at Haverhill.

Beccles 0, Dereham Barbarians 60

Dereham Barbarians travelled to a wet and windy Beccles on Sunday after a confident performance at home the previous week and were hoping to continue this strong form away from home. And the Barbarians did not disappoint the faithful how had travelled to watch them as the ran in 10 tries.

The Barbarians started slowly after their travels, however soon started to cause trouble in the backs with Jaimeson threatening out wide and Stuart punching holes in the centres.

Edwards opened the scoring with a strong run from deep and would later add a second with the last try of the match.

Evans kicked brilliantly in the poor conditions allowing the score sheet to keep ticking over. Evans also contributed with a well-worked try.

The Barbarians continued to threaten the Beccles line and eventually the tries started to come from Rumbles and Stuart.

Barbarians started the second half in much the same fashion. O'Connor passed brilliantly from scrum half allowing the backs time and space to work in and also put in big tackles around the pitch.

Spencer added two tries to his season's tally and he too made some shuddering tackles. Possibly the best try of the match was the break away try from deep inside their own half from Bean on the wing.

Beccles, through a good phase of position, worked their way to the Barbarians' line. However some good rucking from Twentyman and Wright saw the ball cleared to safety.

Captain Evans said: 'In today's conditions we played some ambitious rugby and it has paid off, I am extremely pleased with the lads' commitment and wish to continue this form through.'

Next the Barbarians train in anticipation for their match against Lowestoft and Yarmouth in a fortnight.