A RUSTY but determined Rochford Hundred moved level on points with second-placed Saffron Walden after winning 33-10 at Norwich in London Two North East on Saturday.
Hundred had been without a game for the past two weeks due to the wet weather but still came out on top.
And first team manager Graham Pratt was full of praise for his team’s performance.
“In spite of not being totally on top of our game due to lack of match practice and the challenging weather, this was an excellent effort,” said Pratt.
“We needed it too as we have a tough Intermediate Cup quarter-final coming up against Old Priorians next weekend.”
Rochford will head into the game in good shape and took the lead in Norfolk when stand-off Tom Ashton ran through to score a try which he also converted.
As the half progressed the visitors’ set scrum became more dominant but the line-outs were poor for either side and were not helped by the strong wind.
But Norwich continued to attack and only good defensive work by the boys in black kept them out.
The tide started to turn late in the half when flanker Tom Corbet finished off a good breakaway move to score and Ashton again added the extras.
With the scoreline at 14-3 and with less than a minute to go before the break Rochford failed to clear their lines and Norwich opened up play and ran in for a surprise try which they converted to cut Rochford’s lead to 14-10 at the interval.
The weather got worse at the start of the second half with pouring rain and vicious gale force winds and it was a wonder that both sides were able to play at all. But Rochford had the clear advantage of the wind behind them and an increasingly more powerful pack applied the pressure and centre Michael Stemp supplied the extra points with a fine try. Ashton again converted to take the score to 21-10 and with a little daylight now showing Rochford struck again.
This time it was substitute winger Tom Pickering, using his speed and strength, to force his way along the touchline to dive over for the all-important bonus try.
The icing on the cake for the visitors came towards the end of an eventful but stop-start match when centre Matt Stewart finished off a quick piece of back play to score his 10th try of the season.