Union begin the league season in style
with an emphatic home win against Swaffham
Match Report: Gareth Davis
Norwich Union recorded an emphatic win over their opponents in the first league game of the season against a higher ranked Swaffham side. The game in the end turned out to be a try fest with the home team’s powerful ball carriers proving too much for a disjointed Swaffham team. Tries came from all over the park, with nine different players scoring a total of 10 tries to Swaffham’s two.
Swaffham arrived early and went through an extensive warm up lasting 75 mins, in contrast the home side opted for a short and sharp routine to get the team up for the game, before Ben Bond-Webster led the team out in the absence of captain Simon Pitcher.
A nervy start by Union was soon ended with only five minutes on the clock, when Graham Hunt ran a great supporting line to score the first of his brace for the day. Dominating in all aspects of the game, it wasn’t long before Union were again on the score sheet, Matt Gyton galloping 40m to the line to score following a powerful charge by Craig Dunbar, Simon Bunting adding the extras to take the score to 12-0, a further try followed, this time from scrum half Lloyd Davis in a trademark snipe from a lineout on the Swaffham 22m line, Bunting adding the conversion to take the score to 19-0.
Union were dominant at the scrum with Michael Shucksmith and John Madden to the fore, supported by debutants Matt Spencely and Joel Reader in the second row and a powerful back row of Craig Dunbar, Steffan Harwood on the flanks and the returning Jon Spicker at number 8. This dominance leading to the next try, with the home team’s powerful drive leading to the ball being turned over with a subsequent driving maul resulting in a try from Captain Ben Bond-Webster, Bunting adding the two points to stretch the lead to 26-0.
There were two further tries before the half time break, the first coming from a break by try scorer Davis, who drew the last man before delivering the perfect pass allowing left wing Callum Slaughter to race to the line without breaking stride. The final score of the half came from Tom Whitehouse who ran a great line before gliding to the line to score, Bunting adding the conversion to take the score to 38-0 at the break.
Swaffham having been blown away in the first half came out firing at the start of the second scoring a converted try under the posts following some good driving play by their pack as the heavens opened making for slippery conditions for both teams.
Union soon struck back this time through powerhouse Craig Dunbar who scattered would-be defenders like nine-pins smashing his way to the line taking the score to 43-7, fellow back rower Jon Spiker, demonstrated his own powerful running style to score a few minutes later to take the score to 48-7. Spicker then turned provider having been stopped inches from the line, the evergreen Graham Hunt on hand to rip the ball and dive over for his second of the game. Bunting adding the conversion to taking the score to 55-7.
Swaffham replied from the kick off, catching the home team napping to score their second and final try of the game. The last try of the game came from a perfectly weighted kick from fly half Simon Bunting, an international bounce allowing right wing Dan Norgate to gather and score in the corner talking the final tally to 60-14.
After the game Coach Gareth Davis said: - “The team did well to score ten tries, but was disappointed we let two in, but was pleased with Union’s performance and dominance in the game. However, a tougher test awaits next week away at Beccles with some selection headaches as a number of players return. The hard work will continue Wednesday at training as we seek to build some squad depth and become more competitive in a strong league. It was a promising start but he reminded players to keep their feet firmly on the ground”
Following the game Joel Reader, Conor O’Kane and man of the match Matt Spenceley received club ties to recognise their first league appearance for Norwich Union’s 1st XV.
Norwich Union play Beccles next Saturday, with the Firebirds entertaining Dereham at home on the same day. Both games kick off at 3pm.
Team: Michael Shucksmith, Ben Bond-Webster(Capt), John Madden, Matt Spenceley(MOM), Matt Gyton, Craig Dunbar, Steffan Harwood, Jon Spicker, Lloyd Davis, Simon Bunting, Callum Slaughter, Conor O’Kane, Tom Whitehouse, Graham Hunt Replacements: Joel Reader, Mike Smyth, Peter Sparks
Scorers: Graham Hunt 2T, Matt Gyton 1T, Lloyd Davis 1T, Ben Bond-Webster 1T, Callum Slaughter 1T, Tom Whitehouse 1T, Craig Dunbar 1T, Jon Spicker 1T, Dan Norgate 1T, Simon 5C