Swaffham battle to win
SWAFFHAM travelled to the formidable Broadland on a classic cold, wet and windy afternoon. In front of a large crowd featuring a strong travelling contingent they shone through with classic grit, determination and good rugby skill that saw the team back on a winning run, 34-14.
SWAFFHAM travelled to the formidable Broadland on a classic cold, wet and windy afternoon.
In front of a large crowd featuring a strong travelling contingent they shone through with classic grit, determination and good rugby skill that saw the team back on a winning run, 34-14.
It was the home side that had the early momentum though. After just five minutes Swaffham were a try down as Broadland rounded the Swaffham defensive line with relative ease, a try which was duly converted by the fly-half.
Heads could have dropped at this point but under the leadership of Gladman in the absence of Chamberlain, Swaffham awoke and rose to the momentous challenge ahead, one which would require heads held high, confidence and concentration. Soon Swaffham found their way up the gears.
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The forwards made good inroads, while the backs ensured the ball was kept tight on a day not destined to be full of long passes and extravagant running moves.
From good possession in the Broadland 22, second-row Gladman made sure ball was kept Swaffham's side and fed prop S Webb who drove strongly from five metres out to open Swaffham's account.
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The conversion was missed but Swaffham were now well into the game. Just five minutes later and Swaffham took the lead as No 8 Gunnell also powered over the line, after a superb lineout peel from second-row Murray had created a two-on-one opportunity on the blind side.
The home side then started to turn up the heat in response to Swaffham. Finding a good spell of possession, they gradually worked up the field, gaining good territory. Infringements at the breakdown saw them with the opportunity to kick further on and into the Swaffham corners. It was from a line-out as the result of a penalty that Broadland regained the lead through a try at the end of a good move. Again converted Swaffham were adrift by four points.
From the restart the ball was kicked back into the Swaffham half where it was well fielded by winger Hamilton. Good reading of the situation from fly-half Impey saw him take the scissors pass from the wing man and surge down the blind side. His pace saw him past two defenders and strong running saw him clear a third defensive challenge.
As the big man was finally felled in the 22 he turned and offloaded to the well-supporting Sparks from full-back who had the simple task of running the ball over the line.
Not converted, the away side were one point up, but three minutes later the Swaffham kicker found his range with a penalty effort sailing between the uprights.
Swaffham had a narrow half-time lead of four points as the teams went in at 18-14.
The narrow gap was widened within the first minute of the second half as a sensational drive from the Swaffham pack highlighted their intentions. Driving the home side back from the halfway line right up to the 22 before a penalty was conceded by Broadland, Swaffham chose to emphasise their dominance up front by kicking for the corner.
From here another maul powered towards the try line and it was the eventual Man of the Match Louis Gunnell who controlled the ball at the back to score.
The backs then started to show some promise, running good lines at a tough Broadland defence, the fresh centre pairing of Barnard and Johnson worked well, and Impey's boot was functioning well after a few kicks had gone astray in the early minutes.
The trademark Swaffham brick wall defence was soon required though. Broadland were starting to show why they were so good at home as they rumbled on through the forwards, ably supported by a strong and direct running back line.
Two penalties in quick succession on Swaffham's five metre line saw big runners charge at the try line, but Swaffham were equal to the challenge, and after some sustained pressure cleared their lines through a huge kick from Hamilton. Re-grouping, Swaffham then finished the match off on top.
Another penalty was successfully kicked on 60 minutes, and while Swaffham maintained both ball and territory another kick went over on 70 minutes.
Following good inroads by the attacking Swaffham back line once again, combined with strong running off the fly-half in particular from forwards Murray, Webb and Callaby lead to a final hurrah.
With the momentum going Swaffham's way, the home side were forced to interfere illegally to halt the onslaught. Calmness at the ensuing lineout saw another good set from Swaffham and they again drove to the line, the main man Gunnell on hand to touch down again.
The final whistle blew and Swaffham were victorious on the road, winning by a good margin in the end.
MoM as mentioned was L Gunnell but the entire squad had done themselves proud. Injured captain Chamberlain was over the moon with the result: “I knew they could do it, and I hoped they would, but the way they played out there was a credit to themselves and the club. Well done boys.”