Norton ease past hosts but don't hit top gear
By Somerset Guardian | Thursday, November 01, 2012, 11:00
Taunton 2nd XV 12 Mid Norton 1st XV 68
After a run of games against fellow title contenders, Midsomer Norton made it eight wins out of eight with a comprehensive victory over Somerset Premier strugglers Taunton.
A communication error meant that Norton had to start the game with their shirts inside out to avoid a colour clash but the visitors were soon into their stride, despite playing against the wind.
The forwards, led by the excellent Swift, Sneaky and Sawkins, were unstoppable with ball in hand and Norton soon found themselves two tries to the good.
A change of strip arrived soon afterwards but the visitors took their foot off the gas and gave the home side a counter-attacking chance. The young outside-backs took full advantage and used their pace to reduce the deficit to 12-7.
Norton steadied themselves in the final ten minutes of the half and ran in four more tries as the forwards kept the ball in hand and gave quick, front-foot ball that the backs flourished on.
Although Norton did not hit top gear after the break, they still managed a further six tries as the home side could not find an answer to the power of the pack. With half-backs Penny and Moon using the conditions to pin the home side in their own 22, it gave the platform the forwards needed.
Centres Rowles and Fuller ran the lines and the back three looked dangerous whenever they had ball in hand. Norton's tries were spread evenly across the team, with Miller, Gimson, Denning, Moon, Glass, Penny, Sneaky, Parker, Sawkins, Jeffery and top try-scorer Verden (2) all getting on the scoresheet. Moon added four conversions.
On Saturday, Norton travel to Glastonbury to play a Tor side who are also struggling this season.
St Bernadettes 1st XV 48 Mid Norton 2nd XV 7
Midsomer Norton 2nd XV were well beaten by runaway league leaders St Bernadettes on Saturday but the game was more evenly contested than the score suggests.
The hosts' superior organisation and experience proved crucial as they capitalised on Norton errors.
The visiting pack started well and, with centre Matt Edgell rampaging through the middle, things looked good for the visitors.
However, they failed to support the ball carrier in sufficient numbers and this allowed Bernadettes to frequently turn the ball over.
This in turn allowed the hosts' quick back three to exploit the open spaces and take the game away from Norton in the first half.
Norton had their moments, particularly after the break when they dominated for long periods. Their finishing let them down, however, and St Bernadettes were able to add to their lead.
Among the positives for Norton were the debuts of flanker Cameron Fenwick and second row Ben Matthews, who both made an impact on the game.
The returning Fraser Button also added some much-needed go-forward and he deservedly got Norton's only try of the game when he powered over from close range.
Norton's man of the match was number eight Jamie Rose.
On Saturday, Norton 2nd XV host their Wellington counterparts at Norton Down (2.30pm).
Midsomer Norton 3rd XV lost 43-15 at home to Keynsham 3rd XV on Saturday and remain two places off the bottom of Somerset 2 North ahead of a trip to Chew Valley 2nd XV this weekend.
Norton's fourth team were without a game at the weekend but visit Imperial 2nd XV on Saturday for a Somerset 3 North clash.