Heathens in fab fightback
Thetford Heathens 24, Norwich 24
RUGBY: Thetford Heathens continued their fine form in Merit 2, holding a strong Norwich side to a spectacular draw at Two Mile Bottom.
Captain Liam Burnell said: “It was a monumental result for my boys today and I’m proud of each and every one of them, showing true spirit.”
The Norwich scrum-half shipped the ball to the young energetic back line who all showed good hands to allow the Norwich winger to score under the posts, converted.
Heathens were reeling after they soon found themselves two converted tries down.
In danger of being completely blown away by a rampaging Norwich side, the Heathens went back to basics to provide a steady platform for the Heathens back line. This came at the first scrum, the Norwich scrum-half fed in the ball and the Heathens proceeded to push the scrum backwards, virtually half the length of the pitch.
From the scrum, Damian Smith-Taylor fed the ball to Jack Bloss who with good hands passed to Jason McKenzie who charged through player after player, passed to Jordan Fisher who was tackled just before the line.
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From the following scrum the ball was fumbled by a Norwich player and first to react was Adam Allen, who seized the ball and charged to the line to score for the Heathens, converted by Jack Bloss.
After some handling errors from the Heathens, Norwich pounced to score again in the corner.
With the game now evenly matched and both teams looking to push on it was the Heathens who struck just before half-time when Smith–Taylor at the base of the scrum dummied his opposite man to score near the corner.
Smith–Taylor added to his tally when, from a breakdown in the Norwich 22, he took the ball on the blind side and scored again in the corner to peg back Norwich even further.
With the Heathens believing they could go on and win the game and playing the expansive rugby that has seen them charge up the table, they came unstuck again with a missed tackle which allowed the Norwich centres to charge up the middle.
Failing to recover, Norwich scored again to surely secure the points for the away team.
The Heathens made changes which saw Soames, Cummings, Lawrence and Firth all take to the field to try and rescue something for the tiring Heathens. With the referee waiting to blow the final whistle, the Heathens had a scrum on the Norwich five-metre line.
Allen and Mortimer ended with a ferocious scrum to push the heavy Norwich pack back. From the base Smith–Taylor fed the ball out to Jack Bloss, who with his trademark side-step fooled the entire Norwich back line and went underneath the posts to score a dramatic last-play try.
With the pressure of the kick, Bloss coolly stepped up and slotted over the conversion to draw level.
Dexter’s MoM: Asher Benion, again playing out of position, put in a fantastic all-round performance.
But also a mention for Adam Allen, Dave Mortimer and Dave Barton who all played a big part.
n Thetford first team visit Dereham in a derby encounter on Saturday.