Midsomer Norton RFC up and running with Cirencester victory
Midsomer Norton RFC 1st XV 14
Cirencester RFC 1st XV 9
Midsomer Norton 1st XV began their first-ever season in Western Counties North with an important win against a strong Cirencester side on Saturday.
The hosts found themselves under the cosh from the off, with Cirencester taking advantage of the wind and slope to keep Norton pinned down in their own half.
The visitors’ early pressure earned them a kick at goal after five minutes but the attempt drifted wide, after which Norton tightened up and conceded fewer kickable penalties.
Strong runs from Cirencester’s big forwards and their lively centre were met with strong tackles by lock Jamie Gimson, flanker Matthew Denning and centre Jack Rowles, who often left their opponents stunned on the floor as Norton’s defence held firm.
On the occasions that Norton were able to break into the opposition half and threaten the line, Cirencester were often forced to concede penalties to stop the onslaught.
Scrum-half Ben Moon converted two of them, in the tenth and 20th minutes, to put the hosts ahead before Cirencester’s number eight was shown a yellow card for persistently killing the ball.
Despite this setback, the visitors were able to get on the scoreboard just before half-time with a penalty following a high tackle.
Cirencester started the second half as they did the first, by missing a penalty, but Norton fly-half Ben Taylor was more accurate when presented with the same opportunity and increase the home side’s lead to 9-3.
Plenty of pre-season set-piece training allowed Norton to achieve domination in the scrum and, combined with a strong lineout and good breakdown skills, they took control of the game.
Winger Jamie Verden was fed quick ball from a breakdown in the home side’s half and proceeded to outstrip the defence to score the game’s solitary try.
Cirencester infringed again but this time Ben Taylor hit the post as the opportunity to increase Norton’s advantage was squandered.
The visitors closed the gap and, with the match entering the final 15 minutes, stepped up their game but Norton’s defence was strong, with hooker Gareth Williams and winger Lee Withers putting in important tackles.
The pressure eventually forced Norton to give away a penalty close to their line. Needing a try to win the game, Cirencester decided to run it but their prop dropped a pass from his scrum-half.
Norton won the resulting scrum and cleared their lines, finishing the game back in Cirencester’s half.
Having got used to the standard expected, Norton should take great confidence from their both the result and their performance on the opening day.
They are on the road this weekend as they travel to Drybrook.
To celebrate their promotion to a higher division, Norton were presented with new playing kit before Saturday’s game by sponsors Jayla Wilcox and Kiki Moyle of Simple Recruitment.