RUGBY: L&Y progress in cup

Lowestoft & Yarmouth 44, Norwich 8 PERHAPS in a reflection of the sad decline in importance of the Norfolk Cup, neither club really expected much out of this game except to concentrate on their own game and build for the coming battles in their respective leagues.

Lowestoft & Yarmouth 44, Norwich 8

PERHAPS in a reflection of the sad decline in importance of the Norfolk Cup, neither club really expected much out of this game except to concentrate on their own game and build for the coming battles in their respective leagues. In Norwich's case they had to rest eight regulars for some impending relegation deciders, but still managed to field a XV all of whom had 1stXV experience. L&Y fielded their best available side although that included six changes from last week and a superb debut for Chris Fletcher at full-back, and they were desperate to find some form after two miserable recent losses.

As it turned out, former L&Y stalwart and current Norwich supremo Andy Warnes had a miserable afternoon back at his old club as his new side were simply not allowed to play their intended tactics and succumbed to an 8-try rout. L&Y rediscovered their lost mojo in the best possible way and totally crushed the visitors in every department. In place of regular captain, Marc Thomas, young no.8 Callum Cashman had a magnificent game, stealing lineouts at will, making ground with the ball, tackling hard and most importantly making the ball available at every opportunity. Indeed the whole pack played their part in creating go-forward ball and concentrating on releasing it at the correct time to change the point of attack. This enabled the often unfairly underrated L&Y backs to show what they can do with some quality possession, and with fly half Scott Nelson superbly varying his game, pacy centre Myles McAlone danced through for two breathtaking 40 metre solo scores in the second half.

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The game started with a series of loose kicks from both sides as they probed each other's defences. A determined run from deep by Fletcher seemed to galvanise L&Y and when a drive into the Norwich half started by Cashman and Lewis Davey and a break by Nelson then switched left, hooker Chris Howe was on Nelson's shoulder to take the pass and score the first try.

A hacked kick through and a good follow-up by Norwich put L&Y winger Matt Scott under pressure in his own 22 and when he refused to release the ball Josh Ives kicked the resulting penalty to narrow the scores. L&Y immediately replied by gaining territory in the Norwich 22 where, from a scrum, Cashman and scrum-half Tom Castleton gave quick ball to Nelson who dummied the switch with charging centre Steve Adams and strolled under the posts to give Davey an easy conversion.

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Norwich captain Freddy Cook's slippery running caused a few problems for the home defence, and from one break a great of a Norwich score was blown when Ives ignored a three man overlap and opted for a poor drop-goal attempt. From a stolen scrum in their own 22, Cashman and Davey again combined to break out, a long pass from Nelson to winger Dan Boardley found him in space and his dash and kick ahead forced a lineout 5 metres from the Norwich line. With props Jake Titterington and Richard Bristo sending Simon Coleman soaring, L&Y drove the catch over the line and Davey touched down for a 17-3 halftime lead.

L&Y just had to keep playing how they were and Norwich needed to try and increase the pace however, starved of possession, the visitors immediately fell further behind.

A lineout steal by Cashman handed L&Y possession, Nelson chipped over the defence and Kristan Taylor-Crisp and Davey reclaimed the ball, quick long passes by Castleton and Nelson released McAlone whose change in angle and searing pace took him between several flailing defenders and over the line for a dazzling score. This was quickly followed by another more typical L&Y try as Titterington peeled away from a driven lineout to touch down in the far left hand corner.

McAlone scorched to another impressive touchdown following a scrum against the head, a good charge and clean presentation from Cashman and a neat unload from Adams in midfield. Nelson converted before Cashman deservedly got on the scoresheet with a pickup and charge from the base of a 5-metre scrum.

Sadly L&Y then lost the influential Davey to a serious knee injury, and in the resulting confusion Norwich managed their only try with a blindside break and a touchdown by Paul Mickelthwaite. To round off the game, L&Y earned a lineout on the Norwich 22, a midfield break was halted but L&Y's forwards rolled on and Coleman managed to claim his second ever try by touching against the base of the post under a pile of bodies.

Team: Bristo (Newton), Howe, Titterington, Coleman, Wilkinson, Davey (Lewis), Taylor Crisp (McArthur), Cashman, Castleton, Nelson, Boardley, Adams, McAlone, Scott (Jary), Fletcher

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