Norfolk Plate Final 2022

Swaffham – 29 Holt 2nds – 33

Swaffham made it to a Cup Final for the first time since 2013 and it was one which kept the large crowd entertained until the last seconds.

Holt started strongly and pushed deep into the Swaffham half, but in typical fashion this season, the defence stood firm and drove them back. After some excellent offloading and good support, Adam Potter was put through a gap and he strolled over the line for a try under the posts and a 7 point lead. As you would expect from a team looking for promotion to Division 1, Holt came back strongly, and soon equalised through some efficient back play. Swaffham began to look tired, and Holt took full advantage, running in another couple of tries to extend their lead to 21-7. It was looking ominous for Swaffham now. However, we all know what spirit this team possesses, and sure enough, the last score of the half came when Alex Clark pounced on a defensive error and it finished 21-12 at the break, three tries to two. Swaffham needed to believe in themselves again in the second period and sure enough they pressured Holt into mistakes, who were starting to concede penalties as the Holt forwards were caught infringing at the rucks. After some good build up and a driving maul got them close to the line, the ball went wide and Ed Jones burst through the tackles to put Swaffham within 4 points. Swaffham were looking strong and the supporters were beginning to sense a win, but concentration seemed to go for 5 minutes and Holt ran in two quick tries to seal the game at 33-17……………or so we all thought!

Ben Davidson climbs high!

Those Magnificent men were not about to throw in the towel, and they burst into life, pushing Holt back into their own half and forcing some desperate tackles. By now the scrum had taken control and the handling errors had been eradicated, and when Ash Reid barged his way over from close range, the deficit was down to 12 points with 10 minutes to go. Holt were feeling the pressure more than Swaffham and their previously composed backs were beginning to panic, giving the underdogs a sniff. Swaffham pushed and pushed, and were rewarded 4 minutes from the end when “someone” (sorry about that) touched down and Ed Jones kept his nerve with an excellent conversion to make it 29-33, and 5 tries each. From the restart, Swaffham attacked, and pushed up the field as Holt started to give more penalties away, as they desperately clung on to the trophy. The ref called “50 seconds” and everyone watching knew this was their last chance, but Holt took possession and kicked clear, only for the ball to be gathered by Swaffham and begin the final attack. After 80 minutes of rugby it was something of an anti climax when the ball came off a Holt player into touch to bring the game to an end, but it was maybe too much to ask a team who had given their all and come so close.