Late double earns Norton a point
By Somerset Guardian | Thursday, April 26, 2012, 11:00
Mid Norton 1st XV 27 Stothert & Pitt 1st XV 27
Midsomer Norton 1st XV finished their league campaign with a draw against Bath side Stothert & Pitt.
Despite playing for the third time in seven days, Norton started the stronger and pushed up the slope towards the Stotherts tryline.
Stern defence kept Norton out and the Cranes took play into the hosts' half, catching the defence napping for the first try.
Runs from Joe Button and Ty Moss kept Stotherts on the back foot but Norton were still unable to cross the line and, in a stop-start period of play, the hosts had a player sent to the sin-bin.
Stotherts took advantage of their extra man and scored again but once Norton were restored to full strength, they soon got back into the game.
Quick lineout ball was sent to first-team debutant Ben Taylor, whose flat pass to Alex Mitchard split the defence. With just one man to beat, he offloaded to Fionntan McDermott, whose excellent line of attack sent him over for a try, converted by Ben Moon.
Stotherts found themselves down to 14 after repeated infringements but Norton could not take advantage and it was the visitors who got the next try just before half-time.
After the break, Norton looked to take advantage of the slope and the wind but both sides found it hard to put phases together.
Stotherts added to their earlier tries to get to 27 points, leaving Norton 14 behind with 15 minutes remaining. The hosts dug deep and set about the visiting defence, winning several penalties before crashing over from close range with five minutes remaining.
Stotherts defended valiantly but Sinden was able to scramble over the line, leaving Moon a pressure kick which he sent between the posts to secure a draw.
Norton finish the season fifth in Tribute Somerset Premier, with their away form in the middle of the season denying them the chance of a higher placing.
Steve Pratt is leaving as club coach, having been at Norton for the last three years.
"We wish him well with further projects and look forward to welcoming him next season as a supporter," said 1st XV captain Jack Rowles.
Castle Cary 1st XV 13 Mid Norton 2nd XV 17
Midsomer Norton 2nd XV rounded off their season with a hard-fought victory over Castle Cary on Saturday.
The win ensured they ended on a positive note and finished comfortably in mid-table in Tribute Somerset 1.
Their performance was based on a great forward effort, which enabled Norton to control the game for long periods. The visitors dominated from the off but a combination of small errors, dogged defence and some debatable decisions from the referee kept them at bay.
Twice Norton pushed their opponents over their own line but were penalised when a penalty try seemed the likely outcome. Despite constant pressure, Cary dug deep and managed to hold Norton out for the remainder of the half.
The second period saw Norton retain the majority of the ball but it was Cary who scored first when they seized on a loose pass for a breakaway try.
Norton responded almost immediately as number eight Steve Dunster finished off an impressive forward drive to score in the corner.
Cary fought back with a penalty but Norton retook the lead when Dunster was on hand to dot the ball down after another impressive scrum.
With ten minutes remaining, Cary were still living off scraps but again pounced on loose ball to break away for a score which saw them go in front for the third time.
Good running from Henry Hunter in the centre allowed Norton to take the ball back upfield. The initial forward thrust was halted but the ball was swept wide to allow centre Matthew Edgell to brush off several defenders and go over for the clinching try. The conversion was added by Tom Rideout.
"The return coach journey was enjoyed by all and Norton will be looking to improve again next year," said captain Ian Tiley. "I would like to thank everyone for their efforts this season."
Whitehall Colts 5 Mid Norton Colts 31
Midsomer Norton Colts rounded off their season in fine style with a deserved victory in the Bristol Combination Bowl final against Whitehall.
The performance proved quite a turnaround from their previous meeting with Whitehall in March, when they were well beaten.
Every member of the Norton team played their part in a committed performance and captain Ciaran Moore capped an excellent display with two tries.
Number eight Tom Fear added a further try, while fly-half Ben Taylor kicked four penalties and two conversions.
This match signalled the end of the Colts as next year Norton will be running an U18 team.
Coaches Ian Tiley and Adam Sinden said: "We would like to thank all the lads for their application and commitment, and wish them all the best for the future."