Hadleigh defy odds with Norfolk win

RugbyWest Norfolk 24 Hadleigh 29Maldon 12 Stowmarket 21Hadleigh Falcons 31 Mersea Is II 8Old Albanians 33 Sudbury 19HADLEIGH were deprived of the services of five regulars but still won well against West Norfolk.A larger, talented player base allowed them to plug the gaps efficiently and for the majority of the first half they played some attractive rugby.

HADLEIGH were deprived of the services of five regulars but still won well against West Norfolk.

A larger, talented player base allowed them to plug the gaps efficiently and for the majority of the first half they played some attractive rugby.

Nullifying a huge home pack they soon registered scores from skipper Leonard and Leadbeater, both of which were converted by Carson.

The home side managed a penalty in a rare foray into Hadleigh territory, but a third try from a forward drive – also converted by Carson – gave the visitors a 21-3 lead.

With ten minutes remaining in the half, West Norfolk's gargantuan pack finally started to show its worth and drove over for a score to make it 21-10 at half-time.

The second half saw Hadleigh with the advantage of a strong breeze, but instead of capitalising on this they tried to take on West Norfolk up front. The result was that Hadleigh gave away several penalties, three of which were converted to cut the gap to two points.

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Carson kicked a penalty of his own before the home side surged forward in search of the win. Hadleigh's defence was magnificent, a tribute to the work done with army coach Steve Powley.

Veteran prop Sands was sin-binned for Hadleigh and with 15 minutes to go Hadleigh conceded the try which levelled the scores.

However, as the game drew to a close, Hadleigh began to show touches of the superb handling that had characterised their first-half performance. With just minutes remaining Carson slipped in at the corner to secure a hard-fought win for Hadleigh.

LATE call-offs and the absence of Thomas, who was taking part in the Great North Run, forced Stowmarket to use their squad and they responded with a fine win in Eastern Counties Division One.

Stowmarket started slowly and fell behind to a converted try, but gradually the scrums tightened, the line-outs straightened and the backs started to receive quick ball.

With a kick-ahead and support from Relf, Dick scored under the posts. From the restart Stowmarket again applied pressure and a well-executed backs move saw Lawson score under the posts.

In the second half Cooper replaced Charlick and injected more spirit into the forwards. Good handling and support led to Dick scoring his second try, converted by Lawson for a 21-7 lead.

With minutes left Maldon claimed the final score with an unconverted try.

At the beginning of the week it had looked as though Hadleigh may have been able to field a Third XV for the first time in three seasons.

It was not to be, however, as injuries, unavailabilities and an army exercise took their toll. In fact in was remarkable that Hadleigh managed to fulfill this 2nd XV fixture in the end.

Unperturbed by the midweek wrangling, the Falcons produced an excellent performance against a Mersea outfit.

Mark Cameron-Davies moved from wing to flanker and played a fine game, deservedly scoring a try to cap his afternoon. Neil Crisp, returning from injury, scored two tries to take his season's total to five in two games. The remainder of the scores went to members of Hadleigh's Fijian contingent, Max scoring a try and fly-half Napse chipping in with a try and three conversions.

An amazing number of yellow cards and reds left both sides bemused and shell-shocked in Saturday's London Two North encounter.

It had been a game that was neither violent nor contained any cynical or dangerous fouls.

Both sides tried to play open rugby, but the referee chose to punish any

misdemeanour with his fluorescent plastic squares.

The hosts took an early lead with a penalty as Sudbury went over the top on the first move of the game.

Sudbury replied with a try after eight minutes when Jon Coone made a break and passed across the field for Rob Pound to score under the posts, Marinus Muller converting.

Albanians replied with a penalty and then, from a five-metre line-out, rolled the maul over the line for an unconverted try.

On the half-hour, as the home side mounted an attack, Coone intercepted a pass on the Sudbury 22 and ran three-quarters of the length of the pitch to score under the posts.

OAs kicked a penalty on the stroke of half-time to end a confused period in which four players had been yellow-carded, two from each side, for minor infringements.

Play remained even in the second half until OAs kicked for touch and again rolled the maul for the number eight to touch down.

The referee then sent off one player from each side as the result of a minor scuffle and then sent off a Sudbury player for being offside.

Shortly after the Albanians number two received a second yellow card, which became a red and the game was reduced almost to farce.

A further yellow card for Sudbury reduced them to 12 men and OAs took advantage when they scored another converted try from a scrum in the Sudbury 22.

Rob Pound scored his second try when Muller kicked ahead and he scrambled through to touch down.

To finish the game in style the referee awarded the home side a penalty try against Sudbury to make the final score 33-19.

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