Jones, Jones and Nixon make it a family feast of tries
As Norwich Union Firebirds record their first win of the season
Norwich Union Firebirds were able to put out a and strong full team for the first time this season and in fact ended up with a squad of 18 with the last-minute inclusion of Mark “Wally” Walton and Chris Lewis. The squad featured a healthy mix of experience and youth with five 17-year olds making some headway in bringing the average age down, despite there being five players in their 50s.
The game started at a frenetic pace with Beccles on the front foot from the kick off. The away team made a number of breaks, an interception and break in midfield by the Beccles outside centre, looked a certain try, but a fantastic cover tackle by the Firebirds inside centre Nick Roberts preventing the try inches from the line taking the player into touch.
After absorbing the early onslaught, the Firebirds began to play some good phase play with veteran number 8 Noel Jones taking the ball on and shipping to his son Dan who made mincemeat of would-be tacklers, making a number of breaks. One of which resulted in quick ball which was shipped to the returning Chris de Main, starting his first game in three years, who shimmied past the first defender before shipping the ball down the line, quick hands in the centres and a deft pass by outside centre Ryan Raven to hat-trick hero Jamie Nixon who cut a sublime angle to score the first Firebirds try.
The second came soon after, this time Jones senior showing his footballing skills to control the ball behind a dominant Firebirds scrum to dot the ball down. Nixon was again on the scoreboard again swift hands in the backs allowing him to slice through the opposition to score his second of the game.
Despite being three tries to nil u, Beccles continued to look dangerous with ball in hand, but the Firebirds defence held firm the score remaining the same at the half time break. Fresh legs were brought on in the form of Matt Perry replacing Rob Huson on the flank and Mark Walton coming into the front row, Mike Smyth making way.
The Firebirds started the second half strongly with Dan Jones running rampant and turning the ball over seemingly at will. It wasn’t long before the fourth try was scored, with fullback Jamie Nixon running a great support line off is cousin Dan Jones’ run before accelerating away for his hat trick of tries on his debut for the Firebirds. The fifth Firebirds tray came from a series of forward surges by the Firebirds pack, with Mark Walton and Noel jones showing a combined age of over 100 was no barrier to their effectiveness making some hard yards deep into the visitor’s territory. A penalty close to the line resulting from an infringement at the ruck being quickly taken by scrum half Russ Clarke, who popped the ball to Dan Jones who smashed his way over the line to score.
Beccles scored their solitary try from some good forward play of their own, which culminated in an unconverted try under the posts as the end of the game closed in.
The firebirds final try came from Noel Jones who hassled and harried the half backs following a demolition of the Beccles scrum on their own 5m line, pouncing on a loose ball with no regard for his own personal wellbeing as he face-planted in the act of scoring.
Team: John Madden, Mike Smyth, Steve Knights, Adam Vincent, Joel Reader, Rob Savage, Dan Jones, Noel Jones, Russ Clarke, Chris de Main, Jack Cottingham, Nick Roberts, Ryan Raven, Mikel Freeman-Pannett, Jamie Nixon(MOM) Replacements: Chris Lewis, Matt Perry, Mark Walton
Scorers: Jamie Nixon 3T, Noel Jones 2T, Dan Jones 1T, Chris de Main 2C
Osteostasis.com man of the match: Jamie Nixon