An improving Firebirds team lose out
To a youthful Norwich 3rd XV
With more players becoming available the Firebirds could field a full team with a little help from a very sporting Norwich side, in particular their captain Matthew Cole-Wilkin who not only loaned a couple of players at the start to make the side up to a full 15 also provided cover for a couple of injuries the Firebirds incurred during the game.
Fielding a young and fit team Norwich 3s came out of the starting blocks quickly and using their forwards were soon making holes in the Firebirds defences, however in a frantic first quarter the Firebirds held firm. At this point veteran lock Richard Ross left the field due to injury and was replaced by Tom Easton playing in his first game of the season having returned from injury.
The Firebirds scramble defence was eventually breached with Norwich scoring the first of their tries as the second quarter began, which was quickly followed by a couple more before the half time break.
At half time Norwich reclaimed the two players they had loaned the Firebirds (Enrique and Abel) replacing one of them with Mark “Wally” Walton a player well known to the Firebirds having helped out the team in previous games.
Shortly after half time the Firebirds lost another player to injury, this time Steffan Harwood leaving the field, the Norwich 3s Captain quick to provide a replacement before the Firebirds had the chance to ask.
Thankfully the game started to slow down as the clock began to run down, which allowed the more experienced Firebirds team to start to build some phases and mount attacks against the home side.
The Firebirds capitalised on some swift thinking by fly half Nick Gibbons, who called for quick tap from scrum half Russ Clarke, Gibbons feeding Osteostasis man of the match Dale Blackburn who jinked past the first defender before being brought down with the ever-present Tom Easton being on hand to burrow his way over the line to score an unconverted try.
Despite the efforts of the Firebirds this proved to be the last only try for the away team despite some great endeavour and guile from Mark Ferguson who was inches away from snatching an interception at the lineout and Jay Pollard whose chip and chase very nearly leading to another score.
The Firebirds were also unlucky not to pick up a try in the final play of the game with left wing Jack Cottingham almost reaching the line despite the efforts of three defenders. The final score being recorded as 31-5.
After the match captain Russ Clarke said to the team that they can be proud of their performance, especially in the second half and with more players returning from holiday and injury there he was confident that the Firebirds would be at full strength for the next match which is at home to Beccles 2s.
Team: Enrique (Norwich), Steve Knights, Mike Smyth, Mark Ferguson, Richard Ross, Abel (Norwich), Chris Lewis, Steffan Harwood, Russ Clarke, Nick Gibbons, Jack Cottingham, Nick Roberts, Jay Pollard, Mikel Freeman-Pannett, Dale Blackburn Replacement: Tom Easton
Scorers: Tom Easton 1T
Osteostasis Man of the Match Dale Blackburn
Norwich Union Firebirds next game is at home to Beccles 2s, kick off 3pm