Norton cash in on rivals' misfortunes by winning on the road
Midsomer Norton RFC made the most of slips by Somerset Premier leaders Chew Valley and third-placed Minehead by grinding out a hard-fought 25-10 win at Old Redcliffians 2nds.
The only thing missing from a perfect day was a bonus point but Norton would have taken a win of any description going into what is always a tough away fixture.
With Old Reds’ regular surface deemed unplayable, the match took place on an outer pitch but the walk seemed to focus the visiting players’ minds and they were quickly into their stride.
Props Jenner and Swift were always on hand to take the ball into contact, as were second-row duo Massey and Gimson, while clever tactical kicking from half-backs Penny and Moon put Reds on the back foot.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
It didn’t take long for back-for-back Moon penalties to give Norton a 6-0 lead, which they extended when Gimson dived over from a lineout.
Captain Denning then broke from the back of a scrum and drew the tackler before offloading to Jeffrey. He jinked his way towards the line before releasing the supporting Clarke, who touched down for an excellent try.
With Moon kicking both conversions, the visitors found themselves 20 points clear – a lead they took into half-time thanks to some defiant defending, particularly from centre Fuller and the hard-hitting Rowles.
Norton have developed a habit of taking their foot off the gas, though, and that was the case on Saturday as a couple of misplaced passes prevented them from adding to their lead.
Instead it was Old Reds who were next to score, crashing over from short range for a converted try, and only superb defence from Jeffrey, Rideout and man of the match Rowles prevented them from closing the gap even further.
Norton finally got their game back together, though, and when Penny kicked a penalty to the corner, forwards and backs combined at the lineout to put Massey in space.
He handed off the covering tackler and went over in the corner for the game-clinching score, much to the delight of coach Lovell and captain Denning.
“The game started well but ended up being a little scrappy,” said Denning.
“Old Reds did well to deprive us of the amount of possession we have been used to in recent weeks, so the composure wasn’t there when we had the ball and that caused players to force plays which resulted in errors and inevitably turnovers.
“Jack Rowles’ defensive tackles were huge and enabled us to regain possession when we most needed it.”
Next up for the title chasers is a home match at Norton Down against Gordano on Saturday (2.30pm).
Midsomer Norton 2nd XV 12
Bridgwater & Albion 2nd XV 6
Two David Sawkins tries helped Norton 2nds run out worthy winners and gain revenge for an early-season defeat in Bridgwater.
The key differences between the two sides was the power of the Norton pack in the scrum, which allowed them to withstand Bridgwater’s initial onslaught, and their excellent outside defence.
Big hits from the midfield of Marlo Sawyer and Grant Silk were backed up by some tireless work from the back row of Cameron Fenwick, Andrew Davis and Sawkins.
And it was the latter who broke the deadlock after fly-half James Abbott, who had an excellent game, pinned the visitors back with an accurate kick.
This allowed Norton to gain field position and an impressive surge from a five-metre scrum pushed Bridgwater back over their own line, with Sawkins on hand to touch down.
A forward pass prevented full-back Matthew Edgell from powering over before the break but defences were mostly on top, with poor weather causing a number of errors.
A Bridgwater penalty closed the gap to two points but Norton responded quickly as, after a couple of good box kicks from scrum-half Ian Tiley, prop Will Edgell was denied just short of the line.
From the resulting scrum, however, Norton pushed their opponents off their own ball and Sawkins again pounced, with Abbott’s conversion putting Norton two scores clear.
Bridgwater briefly threatened a comeback but were restricted to just a late penalty and a losing bonus point by Norton, who travel to Castle Cary this weekend.