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1st XV - Match centre

Hadleigh
Norwich Union
Sat 23 Mar 15:00 - London & SE Division - Greene King IPA Eastern Counties One Shield Full time

Bright start away at Hadleigh

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Culminates in a draw as the home team mounted a fightback

Norwich Union started the game well, scoring two quick tries and adding a third before half time, however, their hosts adapted well, nullifying Union’s catch and drive and steadily clawed their way back into the game leveling the score and even had a chance to snatch victory with the last kick of the game.

Union’s first try came from a classic catch and drive on the 5m line after scrum-half Alex Sinclair had given them great field position with a penalty kick to touch from halfway. Hooker Ben Bond-Webster threw into the line and then joined at the back of the resulting maul which powered its way over the line, Bon-Webster dotting the ball down. Sinclair missed the conversion, so Union took a 0-5 lead after less than 5mins of play.

It wasn’t long before the visitors were again on the score sheet, which started from a lineout then drive, but as progress was halted number-eight Craig Dunbar broke down the blindside before running over the winger and scoring, Sinclair added the conversion to put Union 0-12 up with only 10mins gone.

Hadleigh then rallied putting the ball through the phases, before forcing a penalty 10m out, which Hadleigh scrum half Oscar Farrow took quickly before popping the ball to number-eight Craig Green who crashed through to score, fly-half Jacob Kerr adding the conversion to narrow the score to 7-12 with 15mins on the clock.

An arm wrestle followed where neither team were able to gain much advantage, but on the 35min mark the ball was fumbled in the Hadleigh centres, which allowed Callum Slaughter the opportunity to hack the ball through, he then retrieved the ball before diving over the line to score what would be Union’s final try of the game to take the score to 7-17 which remained the same until the half time break.
Hadleigh started the second half with purpose, battering the Union line repeatedly, and as the defence got stretched score through their powerful left-wing Bailey Unwin who barged over the line scoring an unconverted try and take the score to 12-17.

There was little room for Union’s backs to move as the aggressive Hadleigh defence thwarted any attempted attack. The final score of the game cam as Hadleigh move the ball through the hands with fullback Ryan Steer scoring wideout on the right flank, Kerr adding a difficult conversion to draw level at 17-17.

The game ended in dramatic style as the home team was awarded a penalty in the final play, the kick at goal from 30m out just drifting pas the right hand upright, much to the relief of the visitors.

Union now takes a week’s break for Tour, before returning to action on 6th April at home to Newmarket, who they narrowly lost to in the away fixture.

Team: Martyn Webb, Ben Bond-Webster, Simon Pitcher, Jordan Read, Johnny Short, Matt Speneley, Dan Jones, Craig Dunbar, Alex Sinclair, Jay O’Brien, Callum Slaughter, Matthew Cook, Dan Norgate, Ryan Day, Joe Nicholson Replacements: Jake Rodwell, Chris Spenceley, James Grey

Scorers: Ben Bond-Webster 1T, Craig Dunbar 1T, Callum Slaughter 1T, Alex Sinclair 1C from 3 attempts

www.whalebonefreehouse.co.uk man of the match Craig Dunbar

Quilter Kids First Champions winner – March: Minehead Barbarians RFC

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# Team Pl Pts
1. Beccles 10 43
2. Hadleigh 10 29
3. Newmarket 10 28
4. Norwich Union 10 20
5. Colchester III 10 14
6. Cottenham Renegades 10 13

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