Wymondham delight at rugby derby win
Wymondham 12,Norwich 10
A huge day for Wymondham Rugby Club both on and off the pitch ended with the hosts recording their first victory over near- neighbours Norwich.
Before the game, in front of a record-breaking luncheon crowd, Wymondham became the first club in Norfolk – and only the second in the Eastern Counties – to receive the RFU All Club Seal of Approval.
On the pitch they met Norwich for the first time in the league at Tuttles Lane and boosted their survival bid in London 3NE by edging a tight encounter by two points.
In the early exchanges Norwich looked to be on top but a pulled penalty by Rob Micklethwaite kept the scores level, despite some serious pressure by the visitors, who looked extremely pensive whenever they attacked.
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Norwich lost John Snowling with what looked like a nasty finger fracture as Wymondham defended ferociously.
With the half drawing to a conclusion Wymondham mounted an attack following a clearance kick by Norwich that failed to find touch.
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Alex Brugger evaded two tacklers with his pace and skill, and although Rob Micklethwaite made a great tackle the offload to Pena Sokia put the Fijian into the corner for a score that drew a great cheer from the home crowd and gave Wymondham a remarkable half-time lead.
Stung into action, Norwich responded and with their first attack of the second period Wymondham's solid defence parted and the unstoppable Gareth Leake smashed his way through to level the scores.
Tom Wilson missed a penalty for the home side and then Norwich snatched the lead.
Dougie Greeenwood caught a kick from midfield and skipped through Wymondham's defence and then veteran George Pope linked with Ross Adnitt, who was one of Norwich's outstanding players, and the No 8 scored what was the try of the match, putting the visitors ahead for the first time.
The score was Wymondham's wake-up call and they began to play some inspired forward rugby.
Norwich held out in spite of conceding penalties and looked to have survived as they cleared their lines. But a clearance kick failed to find touch, allowing Wymondham to switch play as Stephen Simms put an angled crossfield kick into the Norwich 22.
The Norwich wing was then guilty of an act of madness as he held back Jake Gover, who was in the process of picking up the loose ball to score.
Referee Kevin Edwards had no option but to award a penalty try, although no yellow card was produced. Tom Wilson's conversion gave the home side a slender two-point lead on 65 minutes.
A frantic final 15 minutes ensued as Norwich threw everything at Wymondham without reward.
Five minutes of injury time produced more nail-biting action including four penalties, two turnovers, and some end-to-end rugby, with both teams throwing caution to the wind in their quest for victory.
But Wymondham held on for a famous victory and the home fans were euphoric.