Replacements step up to beat Norwich
- Credit: Archant
St Albans booked a spot in round three of the RFU Intermediate Cup after dispatching Norwich in Norfolk.
The Saints went into the game without a number of key starters due to injury and the England game against New Zealand at Twickenham. They also had no recognised coaches available heading into a contest with a Norwich side that had won their last game comfortably.
With so many changes, St Albans started on the back foot as Norwich dominated all facets of the game and scored a try. But for all their possession, Norwich were unable to add to their score.
Saints did, however, possess a strong back line and they turned their first chance into points. After Dave Mitchell forced a turnover, the backs surged into Norwich’s half before chipping the ball forward. It was well collected by the full-back but his clearance was blocked and Joe Grove dotted down.
Saints made positional changes in the pack, giving them much more solidity in the tight, but Norwich scored again, although the teams were now evenly match.
With half-time approaching, Saints fashioned a try from midfield. Jon Price spotting a hole in the blind side defence before passing to prop Brenton Lemiere, who repaid the favour after drawing the full-back, allowing the scrum half to touch down. Captain Mark Kentish added the extras and the teams went into the break all square at 14-all.
Wing Ed Coy scored the opener in the second period following a break in the centre by Gareth Lane. Saints’ forwards were first to the breakdown, allowing Price to find Coy who outran the cover.
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Although the conversion was spurned, it wasn’t long before Saints added to their tally and it was Kentish who touched down.
Norwich were falling foul of the referee on a regular basis and from one such penalty, Kentish added three points to give his side a 27-14 lead.
All the rugby was now being played in the hosts’ territory and Saints looked to close the game out. Their final try was set up by strong defence as Norwich tried to run out of their 22.
When they did try to kick clear, the ball was blocked and James Ford, playing his first game of the season, went over.
Norwich added a late try but Saints ran out comfortable winners. St Albans are in London 2 NW on Saturday, away to Chiswick.