L 56 - 15 Report attached
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Wymondham bowed out of the London Leagues after a heavy defeat by a Stowmarket side who, like Holt, assured themselves of successive promotions.
Despite the score, the Red and Blacks showed flashes of the undoubted quality that is present in the team and will be looking to regroup and mount a strong challenge in Eastern Counties 1 next season.
The large and enthusiastic home crowd who gathered to cheer their team to promotion suffered an initial period of anxiety as Wymondham started with real purpose, with strong scrimmaging, crisp handling and quick ball from the breakdown forcing Stowmarket into conceding a series of penalties of kickable range.
The Wymondham coaches had calculated that their only chance of avoiding relegation was to record a win with a bonus point for scoring 4 tries and therefore eschewed the easy points from penalties in favour of touch kicks to set up the catch and drive for the line. Unfortunately they were unable, as so often this season, to convert pressure into points and, with 10 minutes gone and home worry growing, Stowmarket broke out of their half for virtually the first time in the match and powered through the defensive line to score wide out on the right. The Stowmarket kicker, who had an excellent afternoon, added the difficult conversion to settle home nerves at 7-0.
On the 20 minute mark, Stowmarket won a penalty in front of the posts and opted to take the 3 points to increase their lead to 10 points.
Almost immediately, Wymondham found themselves with a similar opportunity but again opted unsuccessfully, to try to cross the opposition line.
Stowmarket had clearly decided to take whatever points were on offer and this was amply illustrated when their kicker fell just short with an attempt from the halfway
line. However, the respite for Wymondham was short-lived as, on the half-hour, another transgression resulted in 3 more points for the home side.
On 38 minutes, another long-range penalty attempt from Stowmarket hit the post and the resulting clearance kick was gathered by Stowmarket who put pressure on the away line. Unfortunately, forward Phil Johnson was deemed to have gone off his feet at the breakdown and given a ten minute spell in the sin-bin and, although Wymondham defended the resulting penalty and scrum, the balance of play now moved heavily towards the home side as Wymondham, a man short in the scrum, struggled to contain the large home pack.
Stowmarket made the most of their advantage and, following some fine midfield running in which their excellent fly-half was prominent, they created an overlap and ran in another try which was duly converted to leave the score 23-0 at the break.
Wymondham started the second half with renewed vigour and with 5 minutes gone, a good piece of opportunism by scrum-half Harry Anderson-Brown saw him gather the ball from a Stowmarket knock-on and, while the home defence waited for the whistle, Wymondham took full advantage and shipped the ball along the line where forward Josh Wright linked well to cross the line for a Wymondham score which was not converted.
Stung into action, Stowmarket responded with another try which this time went unconverted.
Stowmarket were penalised for obstruction straight from the restart and the resulting kick was put into touch 7 metres from the Stowmarket line. An excellent catch and drive saw Wymondham forward, David Blake, propelled over the line to score a try which again went unconverted to make the score 28-10.
The pressure was now beginning to tell on the away side and the powerful Stowmarket forwards were coming into prominence. A period of sustained pressure on the Wymondham line saw Stowmarket reap their reward with two tries in quick succession adding a further 12 points.
Having secured their win, Stowmarket were now able to relax and demonstrate their promotion form and an inspired piece of backs play from deep in their own half earned them the best try of the match quickly followed by another score from a 5 metre scrum.
Not to be outdone, Wymondham responded with an excellent try of their own when the two wingers, Brugger and Martin, combined with strong runs to put the ball over the line in the left wing position.
A further try from a scrum saw the match end with a comprehensive 56-15 defeat for the Red and Blacks despite an excellent start in which, had they not been chasing the elusive bonus point, they could have been 12-0 ahead after 25 minutes.
The Wymondham coaches will now reflect on a season where, but for their side’s inability to capitalise on winning positions, they could have occupied a mid-table position and will concentrate in the build-up to next season’s campaign on adding a ruthless streak to go with the skills that their players undoubtedly possess.