Thetford 49 v Warriors 3

thetford-are-too-good-for-woodbridge-eadt-25_10_16-resizedWoodbridge started nervously with uncharacteristic kicking errors as Thetford ran confidently down the wing, Josh Clark breaking tackles to force a defending line-out. The clearance was awful from Woodbridge allowing Hooker Robert Hirsch to score within minutes. Hirsch featured powerfully in the restart as Thetford probed the right wing again forcing scrum half Taff Lloyd to clear. Woodbridge struggled to get the line speed to hold on to territory as the hosts ran back at them through lacklustre tackling and made the most of their rucks. A couple of penalties for not rolling away gave the Warriors a brief respite and full back Jamie Smith kicked three points but play returned to their half as opposing full back Will Martin repeatedly booted the ball downfield.

Set pieces generally were evenly balanced but Thetford was masterful at the ruck, repeatedly dispossessing their visitors and attacking down their favoured right wing. It was a scrum that yielded Thetford’s next try when Martin finished a backs move with a crash ball. Woodbridge’s backs tried to mount a number of signature wide chases but these were closed down effectively, Clark covering well. A scrum on the home 22 gave Woodbridge some hope only for a long clearance and maul from which lanky lock Aaron Waters scored. Warrior’s wing Alex Clifford then made a challenge as Woodbridge broke briefly into the Thetford 22 but again the long clear and terrific line speed saw Thetford reverse the threat for replacement fly half Robert Duchesne to score and close a one-sided first half.

Thetford played with a clear plan and good team awareness. This was evident from the start of the second half.  Woodbridge was penalised twice in attack and Thetford carefully worked the play back downfield. Set pieces were disciplined and within minutes Martin scored his second try from another well worked move from a scrum.

Woodbridge stalwarts in the forwards; Nick Woodley, Dan Bond and Simon Codd became increasingly frustrated at their inability to make progress and suffered repeated theft in the ruck. JP Hart, usually a line-breaker, found it difficult to find space as Thetford centres; Adam Harper and Ryan Mann covered the ground rapaciously. As the half progressed the Warriors found a little of their season’s form, Adrian Sanday having a couple of runs and Capt Jono Cooke picking and driving from most of the scrums where Woodbridge held their own. As play loosened up a little Woodbridge challenged in the Thetford 22 benefitting from a number of penalties and Thetford losing a man to the bin but in every occasion the home defence held tackling well, often two on one.

In the last quarter the visitors had a couple of breaks but any chance of a consolation try was cruelly denied as Thetford exploited the stretched defence with first a try from Man of the Match Harper and then Waters scored his second – converted, like all seven tries, by Matt Briggs, Martin and Chris Thomas.

Thetford marches on undefeated and worthy victors. They are clearly ‘The Team to Beat’. Woodbridge will relish welcoming them back to Hatchley Barn.


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