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Newmarket win high-scoring Greene King IPA Eastern Counties 1 Shield encounter against Norwich Union

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After being on the wrong end of a hefty defeat to league-leading Beccles last time out, Newmarket bounced back on Saturday with a high-scoring 45-41 win at Norwich Union in the Greene King IPA Eastern Counties 1 Shield.

Newmarket, who had lost two of their three away matches since the second phase of the season got under way in February, got off to a poor start at Norwich, who found themselves 10 points to the good early on.

Tom Tallant soon responded for the visitors with a darting run to touch down, while the reliable Michael Reeves was accurate with the conversion to reduce the arrears to just three points.

Rugby Newmarket v Cottenham Harvey Bell Picture Mark Westley. (8378206)
Rugby Newmarket v Cottenham Harvey Bell Picture Mark Westley. (8378206)

The home team responded almost immediately with their second try, only for Dan Johnson to run in another Newmarket try and when Reeves sent the resultant kick between the posts, the visitors found themselves three points behind again.

In the 25th minute a penalty try for Norwich opened up the gap once again, but Newmarket scrum-half Harvey Bell ran in his team’s third try – converted by Reeves – to make it 24-21 in favour of the hosts.

Newmarket then lost key player Paul Buckle to injury, but within four minutes of the restart they took the lead for the first time when Reeves successfully converted a Gareth Denney try.

However, that advantage was soon evaporated as Norwich got themselves back in front with two tries to go 34-28 up.

The lead continued to change hands after that, with Newmarket being awarded a penalty try, Norwich scoring another before Bell dotted down – converted by Reeves – to edge the away side 42-41 in front.

And the victory was made safe late on when Michael Reeves was on target with a penalty to complete the scoring. Third-placed Newmarket will end their league campaign at home against second-placed Hadleigh on Saturday (3pm).

The two sides head into the fixture separated by only one point.