Wymondham II 0 Dereham 29 – Winning run goes on for in-form visitors
PUBLISHED: 14:58 25 February 2016 | UPDATED: 14:58 25 February 2016
Dereham were able to maintain their winning streak by grinding out another great victory at Wymondham, writes Tim Evans.
The pitch was declared “just playable” by the referee, with standing water in some places and not too much grass elsewhere. The match started with the home team very much on the front foot and looking to upset the odds. Dereham conceded a penalty early on and basic handling errors led to several knock-ons.
For the first 15 minutes Dereham couldn’t break out of their own half and it took some stout defending throughout the team to keep Wymondham at bay. They were fortunate not to concede when a home player passed forward when their team were in a good position. At last the away side managed some possession and worked the ball upfield well through the forwards. It was Dereham’s turn to exert some pressure but, again, frustrating errors denied the visitors an opening score. Nevertheless, towards the end of the half they were camped on the Wymondham 22m line for a number of phases.
The well-drilled Dereham line-out was functioning well again and a catch and drive by the big away forwards couldn’t be contained and it was captain Lewis Smith who touched down at the back of the pack in the last play of the half. Half-time: Wymondham 0 Dereham 5.
With the pitch now in a dreadful state it was clear the remainder of the match would hardly be a rugby spectacle. There were early penalties against both teams at the start of the half and ball handling was becoming increasingly difficult. The Dereham forwards were now coming into their own in the heavy conditions. They had full control of the scrum and the pack as a whole were performing heroically.
The away team suffered a setback when flanker Lee Grey, who had been outstanding, suffered a nasty knee injury and had to leave the field in the 50th minute. This seemed to drive the depleted away team on and another driving maul proved too much for the home team to defend and Smith touched down for his second score. Marcus Evans, back on kicking duties, converted well from wide out. Dereham were well on top now and repeated the driving maul tactic in the 65th minutes, with the forwards doing the hard work yet again for Jack Hill to score.
Minutes later, stand-in fly-half Harry Graham took a quick tap-and-go and eluded several tackles before releasing Brett Stolworthy for a fine score, converted. The away team were convinced Hill had scored again but, through a melee of players, the referee declared the ball had been held up.
Another score was to follow in the 79th minute when the dominant away team forwards pushed over from a scrum for number eight Alex Amys to score.