Swaffham 10 Dereham 8

Both sides show their respects, with a minutes silence before the game

Swaffham squeezed out a narrow victory against League leaders Dereham in a nail-biting encounter on a beautiful sunny day at North Pickenham Road. Dereham took the lead after the initial exchanges through a penalty, but Swaffham made several chances to reply, only for poor handling to let them down at the crucial moment. These mistakes were eventually punished when Dereham made an overlap on the halfway line and the winger outpaced the defence to score. The conversion was unsuccessful, and the score remained at 8-0 to the visitors at half time, although Louis Salter was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty try after a high tackle pulled him down just short of the line.

The first score of the second half was going to be important, and when Dereham were once again penalised, Ed Jones slotted the three points from 30 yards. The second half was a tense affair, with both sides conceding unnecessary penalties, resulting in the game being very stop-start and difficult to watch. Swaffham were on top in the scrums and Dereham’s lineout was faltering, which gave Swaffham a majority of the possession in the latter stages, but they found it difficult to put the phases together which would have put the visitors under pressure. With 10 minutes to go, something clicked, and a determined effort saw James Young held up short of the line. Several quick rucks, and a few solo attempts to cross the line, eventually gave Swaffham a huge overlap and Ed Jones scored 10 yards out from the posts. With the game on the line, he calmly stepped forward and put the conversion over to give Swaffham the lead for the first time. Three minutes later, and the final whistle blew for a deserved, but difficult, win to the hosts!