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Bogey team fail to derail Stowmarket league push

PLAY-OFF SPOT: Martin Barnard
PLAY-OFF SPOT: Martin Barnard

Stowmarket Rugby Club blew away the cobwebs of past games against ‘bogey team’ West Norfolk as they guaranteed themselves at least a play-off place with victory on Saturday.

The 48-15 away win in the London Three Eastern Counties league has secured a top-two finish and a chance to vie for promotion to the London Two North East.

Ahead of the match, head coach Martin Barnard said that West Norfolk had, in recent seasons, played the role of villain to Stowmarket’s heroics, often proving the side capable of undoing them.

And it was something Stowmarket were cautious of as they took to the field with nerves.

But a fast opening boosted confidence before two early tries by wingers Scott Woolnough and Nick Faliveno put Stow ahead.

Centre Stuart Hill then ran three quarters of the pitch to score under the posts, well converted, to take the team in to half-time with a 17-0 lead.

Stowmarket defended comfortably in the second half before Dan Garrard scored the all-important fourth try to award themselves a bonus point and ensure maximum points from the encounter.

With the game effectively won, the team lifted the pressure, leading to three West Norfolk tries — although Stowmarket also found four further tries.

They next contest the Suffolk Cup final against Mersea Island at Chilton Fields tomorrow (2.30pm).

• Meanwhile third-placed Ely keep up the pressure as they beat Thetford 36-31 away on Saturday.

• And in the Eastern Counties One Shield, Thurston received a home walkover win as Hadleigh were unable to raise a side.

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