Ipswich YM secure promotion in a thriller against unbeaten Fakenham
Eastern Counties 1
On a bright spring afternoon a feast of rugby was served up to the large crowd, watching the two top teams in the league battle it out in what was one of the finest games seen at Rushmere for several years, writes Dick Watson.
And while the hosts emerged victorious and secured promotion, Fakenham confirmed their position as league champions.
It was a match played at a fast tempo, with the advantage seesawing both ways. As ever it was the dominant YM pack, all of whom worked incredibly hard for the whole 80 minutes, that spearheaded their play, Fakenham making ground and scoring points by moving the ball away from the forwards.
A lengthy period of YM pressure, camping in the Fakenham 22 for the first 10 minutes produced no score, but once the visitors had moved upfield, they were able to run from deep, break through some poor tackles and score beneath the posts.
This spurred the YM into upping their game and a further period spent on the visitors’ line was rewarded when Wes Chetty crashed over through a mass of bodies for the hosts’ first try.
More tries followed, Fakenham again scoring out wide and the YM replying by pinning the visitors on their own line, another spell of sustained forward play being matched by some ferocious Fakenham defence which was finally outflanked for Barney Horsfield to score. A penalty gave Fakenham a slender 15-12 half-time lead.
While the YM were on top for much of the second half, a break-away from deep put the visiting full back clear through.
This looked to have sealed victory for them, but a tenacious tackle, right on the try line by Ryan Wood, forced the Fakenham player to drop the ball and the YM were reprieved.
Although Fakenham did score a try a few minutes later, the momentum of the game was now running in YM’s direction, and the introduction of Kasselle Lee with 15 minutes to go gave them the upper hand, his power and dynamism proving too much for a tiring Fakenham pack.
He rounded off one of his own moves by scoring the third try, and then, with the last move of the game, support for him from the rest of the YM pack gave Chetty the fourth, bonus-point score, securing victory and promotion.