Rugby team is upbeat

Hadleigh 14, Dereham 5Dereham haven't shown the form in recent weeks that saw a good string of wins before Christmas.Despite the disappointment of the defeat the reaction after the game was positive.

Hadleigh 14, Dereham 5

Dereham haven't shown the form in recent weeks that saw a good string of wins before Christmas.

Despite the disappointment of the defeat the reaction after the game was positive. 'We created so many more attacking options this afternoon than in recent weeks,' commented Scott Malcolmson.

'Having made some changes I really wasn't expecting it to click first time out. Sure there were times when the final pass didn't go to hand - if it had the result might have been very different - and I think we can consider ourselves unlucky to have had two scores disallowed.

'But the style and enterprise we showed today was really encouraging. There's a friendly at home against Wymondham next, which will give us a chance to iron out some of those points and set us up for our next league game.'

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At Hadleigh, Craig Chester moved back to his natural position at No 8, Jason Pilbrow went to scrum half and Chris Fish shifted into the centres to pair up with Nick Reeve and renew a partnership that served Dereham well for several seasons. With Aaron Tribe on one wing and Dan Ponder on the other, Dereham had a strong and quick back line.

Hadleigh had won their last five games and were presented with a gift from the opening scrum. Dereham put Hadleigh under pressure and wheeled to expose the scrum half. As he tried to get his pass away he was caught by Dereham's back row and the ball flew loose, unfortunately for Dereham straight into the hands of the Hadleigh winger who skipped round the side of the breakdown unseen to score.

Heads didn't drop and the pack started to produce the quantity and quality of possession that the back line needed. The scrum was steady and John Sutton was finding Andy Brook in the lineout despite the blustery conditions. Fish and Reeve were hitting the gain line with determination and Tribe and Drewery were making darting breaks.

Hadleigh's defence was well organised and repeatedly managed to close the attacks down, but Dereham were camped in the opposition half for long periods and drew a number of penalties.

Chester cut a great angle off of Pilbrow from one such chance and Edwards looked to have scored between the posts form the second phase, but the referee was unsighted and could not confirm the score to Dereham's dismay. Shortly afterwards Wombat looked to have scored in similar circumstances but again the referee disagreed leaving Dereham trailing 7-0 at half-time.

Dereham maintained the pressure in the second period and were finally rewarded when Hadleigh's defence was stretched and Fish burst through for a well deserved try. Against the wind and from wide on the right Drewery's conversion drifted just wide, but Dereham's hopes were up with 30 minutes remaining.

Several more attempts came close in quick succession: Drewery stepped and lost his man, then Edwards combined with Reeve through the middle of the park. But luck wasn't on Dereham's side and an inside pass from Pilbrow was picked off by the Hadleigh centre. With the back line up flat there was nobody at home and he raced under the posts for a second converted try.

The pack worked back row moves through Chester to link with the centres but Hadleigh's defence refused to be breached again.