West Norfolk II 17, Dereham 15 - Away defeat ahead of big home derby


Rugby - Credit: PA

Arctic conditions greeted the two teams as they ran out with a strong biting wind blowing straight down the pitch and snow in the air.

Dereham faced the elements in the first half and West were keen to make the most of the conditions with some big early kicks – aided by the wind – deep into Dereham territory. One of these forced a hasty clearance kick by a scrambled defence. The resultant lineout was won by West who moved the ball inside to a centre who saw a gap in the Dereham defence to score under the posts. Dereham did well to charge down the resultant conversion attempt.

West's strategy of good support play and short offloads was paying dividends and was helped by several missed tackles by the visitors. The away team were lucky when what looked like a good try by West was disallowed for a knock-on. The best spell of the first half followed for Dereham. Fly-half Will Affleck was unlucky when he just failed to reach his own kick and chase ball and a buoyed Dereham team drew level when 'Gilly' Ames drove over strongly (unconverted).

With a five-point deficit, the away team were hopeful they could improve on their first-half display. But West defended stoutly, until a player was sin binned for throwing a punch, and Chris Duggan scored for the Dereham (unconverted). The away side were sniffing victyory when Marcus Evans (unconverted) added to their tally. But West's crashed over again, and converted, to win by just two points.

Captain Rhys Leeder said: 'This was not an afternoon to enjoy on any level. The conditions did not allow for a classic game of rugby but West adapted far better than we did.'

Dereham host Watton in a big derby game on Saturday (2pm) as they look to return to winning ways.