Great start to Swaffham Rugby Club’s pre-season
Swaffham’s first team kicked off a tough pre-season schedule with a superb 34-19 victory over Wymondham at sun-kissed North Pickenham Road.
Led for the first time by new club captain Ryan Bigland, Swaffham refused to be overawed by their visitors, who last season played in London Three.
They immediately set out to put into practice the plays and patterns the squad have been working so hard to perfect during pre-season.
The Swaffham squad contained three senior debutants in Joe (Sharky) Milligan, Chris (Taff) Webber and Tommy Windibank.
Despite the searing temperatures, Swaffham immediately took the initiative and an early infringement from Wymondham gave Daniel Spencer the opportunity to kick the first points of the game from in front of the posts.
Soon after, a kick and chase down the wing by Windibank resulted in Daniel Barnard going over for a converted try.
Wymondham came back strongly and some missed tackles allowed them to close the gap to 10-5. However, Swaffham kept their composure and after some excellent ball retention, Matty Taylor was put through a gap in the defence by Spencer to put Swaffham further ahead.
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In the second half, Swaffham kept the scoreboard moving along with two more tries from Adam Potter and Windibank, supported by a 100pc kicking record from Chicago’s man of the match Spencer.
Despite conceding a couple of scores and playing the majority of the second half with 14 men, Swaffham held on for a well-deserved 34-19 victory – justifying predictions that Swaffham will be pushing hard for promotion from Eastern Counties Two in the season ahead.
Next up for Swaffham is another meeting with higher league opposition on September 1, when Crusaders visit North Pickenham Road – looking to avenge last season’s Norfolk Junior Cup final defeat.
The second team also played hosts to Wymondham and won 24-22.
While the Swaffham squad was light in numbers, Wymondham couldn’t manage to field a full squad or a full front row. As a result some lending of players was arranged and Swaffham had to reserve their shirts as the team who normally play in red and black turned up with a yellow strip.
Led by new 2nd team captain Ryan Gladman the Swaffham quickly assumed control to open a 12-0 lead.
The defence was good, organised and well controlled. Moves from training were tried and executed and tries from Ben Leary and Tom Foulkes were the result.
The good work was undone by a 10 minute blip of concentration to allow the visitors to reach the interval all square.
The second half was a game of 12 aside, which favoured Wymondham’s backs, who having been awarded a penalty try took the lead.
But Swaffham’s came back to take the spoils. A set move from a scrum saw the ball moved quickly to Smith, who powered over and the final try of the game saw Andy Perch rip through the defensive line to score under the post – Jordan Mustard adding the extras.