TWO NORTH EAST
Norwich 17 Sudbury 43
Sudbury returned from their longest journey of the season with the satisfaction of another five-point win that, coupled with Wanstead’s draw, saw them move two more points — to five — clear in the sole play-off spot.
Against a side who sat six points below them in fourth at the start of the day, Sudbury were keen to avoid taking a chance with another below-par display, as in the previous weekend’s 22-7 home win over Old Cooperians.
Sudbury kicked off and an early lineout saw Norwich maul the ball 15 metres down the pitch to serve as an early wake-up call to Ben Scully’s side.
An early penalty saw the visitors kick for touch deep in the Norwich 22. From that Sudbury secured possession from the lineout and held the ball in the maul just long enough to suck in the defence before quick hands put the ball in the centre for Chris Lewis to touch down under the posts. With just five minutes played, Sam Rust added the extra two points with a successful conversion.
The second-placed side were having the best of the action playing the game mostly in home territory, but it took them another 20 minutes to score when Austin Beckett broke from a ruck just inside his own half to dart down the right wing.
A purple patch by Norwich late on put them in the Sudbury 22 for the last five minutes of the half. Two scrums on the five-metre line were awarded to the home side when all in the crowd expected them both to be given to Sudbury. This gave them the incentive to eventually drive over and score.
Sudbury took 15 minutes to break the defence in the second half when Lewis broke from midfield and Smith and Rust passed back and forth to avoid the defence with Rusty eventually getting the glory.
Shaun Smith scored from the restart as the visitors shipped the ball wide for a clear run down the right wing.
Just two minutes later Smith and Austin combined, this time down the left wing for Austin Beckett to add another try.
Norwich got into the Sudbury half with a penalty kick to touch before a maul from the lineout was rewarded with a penalty try as the Suffolk side were again penalised in defence of the paintwork.
Norwich did their best to keep the ball in the forwards and steady the ship for the rest of the game but Chris Kent broke from the breakdown on the centre line and covered the ground well, only to pass the ball at the last minute to Jake Thurlow to score.
Two tries came in the last five minutes. Sudbury scored from close-range through Nick Robinson and then, with the last action of the game, Stanley the Norwich wing broke and ran half the length of the pitch to score with his only good run of the game.
• Sudbury are without a fixture this weekend.