MNRFC 1st Team
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MNRFC 1st Team
Head Coach - Martin Blackmore Email: Tel: 07513 480270
Captain - Tom Fear Email: email@example.com Tel: 07597 721914
Vice Captain - Dan Jenner Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 07527 163895
Click here to view the 1st team results,fixtures and league table
Read Archived Match Reports Here
2019 -2020 Season
Clevedon 16 Midsomer Norton 8
14th March 2020
After a tough Thursday night Somerset cup fixture Midsomer Norton travelled to Clevedon for this rearranged Western Counties North league match.
Clevedon started off on the front foot proving strong early on, and it wasn’t long until the home side broke the deadlock, a lapse in concentration in the Norton defence was quickly exploited as Clevedon shot down the blindside through their winger to take the lead, 7-0.
Norton seemed to struggle to put multiple phases together, as they did for the majority of the game. Ball retention was an issue proving it very hard work to take the game to their opponents. After exchanges of penalty’s from both sides the score at half time read 13-3 in favour of Clevedon.
Scrum half Ben Moon darted around the side of a ruck to score for Norton but this was not enough as Clevedon turned pressure into points once again with the help of their kicker who calmly slotted a further 2 penalty’s in the second half taking the final score to 16-8. A good victory for Clevedon in tricky soft conditions but a disappointing and frustrating day at the office for Norton, who failed to get out of 2nd gear throughout the match.
Midsomer Norton 35 v Avonmouth Old Boys 17
7th March 2020
After a frustrating February with some poor results and even worse weather, Midsomer Norton welcomed a strong Avonmouth side to Norton Down in an eagerly anticipated Tribute Western Counties North League fixture. It was the away side that took the early initiative and scored first through their number 8 after sustained pressure before one of the rarest events in rugby occurred when Hugh Jeffery charged down the conversion.
As the early exchanges continued it was Norton who began to excerpt their own pressure through fine set-piece work and hard running. A penalty try was awarded from a collapsed scrum before Joe Button broke and fed Clark who, with sumptuous piece of slight-of-hand, put the powerful Sam Knight away down the blindside wing. Both of these were converted by Taylor who once again made a mockery of the wind and heavy conditions from the tee.
The second half continued in a similar vein with Midsomer Norton having a slight edge in the set-piece and both teams playing hard committed rugby in both attack and defence. A feature of Avonmouth’s attack was their ability to cut through the centre with their 13 looking dangerous throughout and scoring two tries. The game was close until Abbot finished off a fine move from a scrum in a central area after a break from Taylor. Soon after the returning Alex Mitchard brushed off would-be tacklers in typical style to put Norton in charge. There was time for one more score from snake-hips Rich Martin after a good offload from Jeffery making the final score 35 v 17.
Avonmouth will be disappointed to come away with nothing after a fully committed performance but they came across a much improved and more street-wise Midsomer Norton on this occasion who will be expecting to build on this in their cup game vs Yeovil in Castle Cary on Thursday.
Old Bristolians 43 Midsomer Norton 31
8th Feb 2020
Norton began well as the opening minutes saw them knocking on the door straight away, a few penalties were kicked to the corner but the Bristolians defence held firm. However it wasn’t long until Norton scored, outside centre and altitude specialist Hugh Jeffery cut a great line with ball in hand to touch down under the posts to take the lead for his side.
Norton flanker Sam Church managed to gather a loose lineout throw then used serious pace to capitalise and score Norton’s 2nd try. Try scorer Jeffery was then sin binned for a deliberate knock on close to his line. Credit to Old Bristolians who took full advantage of the extra man running in 3 tries during this 10 minute period..
Old Bristolians then set about getting a foot hold in the match, using their heavy but somewhat mobile pack, sucking in the Nor defence while there fly half conducted his backs well to create space out wide, this was clearly the home sides best chance of running in tries.
With the momentum all with Old Bristolians, Norton received a kick-off and immediately made a break down the right hand touch line, Connor Schuster came close to scoring but was tackled short before Captain, Fear crashed over from 5 metres.
Further tries from Norton’s Sam Church and Jeffery followed but it was Old Bristolians who had the last laugh. Old B’s full back caused real problems in the Nor defence as he used great pace and power to score with 5 minutes to play, securing the win for the Home side. 43-31
A well deserved victory for the Old Bristolians side who put in a great shift for the full 80 minutes, whilst Norton will be disappointed with lapses in concentration in defence on numerous occasions during the 2nd half.
Midsomer Norton 23 v Winscombe 12
1st Feb 2020
A young home-grown Midsomer Norton squad including four 17-year olds welcomed Winscombe to a windy Norton Down. The conditions played their part with both sides struggling to win consistent clean lineout ball and the game was more about hard work up-front and ball retention than flashy skills out-wide.
Ben Taylor had another remarkable 100% kicking performance and was influential in defence and attack throughout. His kicks, alongside a superb maul try scored by Tom Clark and yet another typically Murphy-like try gave Norton a 20 point lead at half time. This was by no means game over because now Winscombe had the advantage of the wind as they set about eating away at their deficit.
Norton were able to withstand pressure and defended well for the most part but Winscombe scored 2 tries of their own and should have had a third only to see their winger fumble the ball when it seemed easier to score. The set-piece became more important as the game progressed and Midsomer Norton turned their dominance in the scrummage into penalties that relieved pressure and also gained another 3 points from the boot of Taylor.
Credit to skipper Tom Fear who put in a superb all-action performance in the tight, the loose, defence, attack and lineout. This sort of effort is an example to all of the young players who could do a lot worse than take his attitude on-board and try to replicate it. Alongside Watts and Smith (both of whom started and finished the game and are beginning to look at home at this level), debuts were handed to Luke Williams and Henry Mclachlan. Williams first ever touch for the 1st team was a storming 40-meter run that involved bouncing two bewildered Winscombe players to the delight of the home crowd.
The future is bright and more opportunities may present themselves over the coming weeks for players to get a taste of first and second team rugby. The priority however is to improve skill levels, fitness and mental strength and this needs to be emphasised. We are one club and it is important to turn up and give 100% playing for any team, whether it be juniors, 3rds, 2nds, or 1sts.
Midsomer Norton 35 v Cheltenham 22
25th Jan 2020
Norton Down welcomed a well-resourced and ambitious Cheltenham side on Saturday. A physical battle from the outset, both teams exchanged penalties before Norton added one more and a penalty-try from a dominant scrummage. Cheltenham were able to apply some pressure themselves later on in the half to touch-down twice and make the score 13 v 15 at half time.
Although behind on the scoreboard, the mendip men were growing in confidence. The lineout started to function and the pressure was telling on the “Tigers” who started to lose discipline. Their dangerous wingers were left largely unemployed whilst the centres were over-utilised running into the narrow channels where they were consistently swallowed up, creating only small gains and slow ball.
Intelligent kicking and varying attacking play created field position and Button scored from the base of another scrum close to the line. This lead didn’t last however and Cheltenham scored a fine try of their own through some hard running and continuity, especially from the back row. The score was 18 v 22 with ten minutes to go but the premature vitriolic celebration only served to further motivate Midsomer Norton.
The remainder of the game was totally dominated by Norton’s remarkable teamwork, skill, patience and discipline. Firstly, Abbott stretched over from a quick tap penalty and then Murphy intercepted to go under the posts. The cherry on top was a penalty at the death from a daft and obvious high-tackle that was only deemed a yellow card from the “tigers” inside centre which summed up a disappointing afternoon for him. This was the most satisfying team performance of the season so far and the whole squad can be proud of their efforts. ‘mon Nor!
Midsomer Norton 14 - Matson 24
18th Jan 2020
The game began with Norton taking the slight advantage playing down the slope, Norton seemed sharp as they easily gained metres in attack early on. From a lineout deep inside the Matson 22, Norton orchestrated a driving maul, from which Scott Goddard was on hand to crash over to open the scores, 7-0.
Shortly afterwards Nor stroke again through number 8, Joe Button. After multiple attempts close to the Matson try line the ball found its way to Button who refused to be tackled and inevitably dotted down, 14-0.
Matson then began to wake up, they won a scrum against the head outside the Norton 22, the ball was taken blind by the Matson scrum half who linked up with his winger to dive over in the corner. 14-5. Further handling errors and mistakes from Norton allowed Matson to collect their 2nd try of the game taking the scores to 14-10.
The momentum that Matson created at the end of the 1st half continued throughout the second period, they held on to the ball for long periods starving norton of the ball, however when Norton did gain possession they were unable to offer any threat towards the organised Matson defence. The visitors scored a further 3 unanswered tries, 2 of these were nearly identical tries where Matson mauled from lineouts and caught Norton napping on the blind side as they ran in virtually unopposed.
Norton had opportunities towards the end of the game, penalty’s were kicked to the corner in the hope to score in the final seconds however they were not clinical enough to turn pressure into points. The match finished 14-27 in favour of Matson, who on the day were well deserved winners.
This Saturday Norton are home again to Cheltenham for a 2:30pm Kick-off.
Gordano Sharks 24 v Midsomer Norton 27
11th Jan 2020
Earlier in the season Norton produced a fine display at home putting 50 points on Gordano. The return fixture was never going to be so straight forward, and so it proved. On a heavy pitch and playing against the wind, Norton started brightly only to concede first.
Hard running and organised defence gave Norton a real foothold in the game from that point onwards with Button crashing over and then Matthew Edgell finished off a move out wide. Edgell scooped the ball off the floor, put in a huge hand-off before making a mockery of a perfectly good technical and brave tackle as he ran over the unfortunate defender to score a dramatic and terrifying try.
As half time approached the pressure was on Gordano’s line once again and Sam Church found a tiny gap to dart over making the score 5-19.
At home Norton would have expected to pull away with the wind in the second half but nobody was under the illusion that this was granted against a tough team on their own patch. The second half saw the home side score first with their quick scrum half making one of his well-timed sniping breaks. Their two powerful wingers and back row made inroads and they achieved more continuity than in the first period. When Norton were able to get into the home side’s half, they were efficient and Fear scored from a lineout maul before Taylor drove home the advantage with a penalty.
Going into the last 10 minutes the score was 12 v 27 and the game looked all but won at this point. Gordano had other ideas however and took advantage of some slightly daft game management decisions by scoring twice and getting to within three points. Deep into injury time, another fine break from the Gordano scrum half and a couple of neat offloads saw a break for the line that would clinch a remarkable comeback victory only to be denied by a fantastic covering tackle by Schuster and Taylor. The ball was dislodged and Norton were able to clear into touch to complete a bonus point win that was more than deserved over the course of the game.
Next week sees Matson travel to Norton down which promises to be a physical encounter between two excellent sides.
Midsomer Norton 80 v 10 Coney Hill
4th Jan 2020
What with a couple of match postponements and the Xmas break Norton were champing at the bit on Saturday. So after a 4 weeks rest Norton finally graced the pitch again as they welcomed Gloucester side Coney Hill to Norton Down . However Coney Hill started the brighter and took the lead after only a few minutes, they also had the last say when scoring their second try in the 80th minute. Unfortunately for the visitors these two unconverted tries were merely bookends for the 12 tries scored by Norton.
It didn’t take long but Nor began to play with confidence, gaps started appearing in the Coney Hill midfield which allowed the Norton team to run riot in attack for most of the game, which was well coordinated by fly half James Abbott. The away side had very few answers to the bombardment of tries that were being ran in.
Centre Rich Martin grabbed one following dummy’s and great footwork. Noah Watts scored 2 tries, used his speed to beat the opposite winger down the touch line on both occasions. Joe Button crashed over 3 times, Rob Fuller came on in the 2nd half and scored a try with his first touch, running a great line to crash over. Connor Schuster unleashed his rampant, energetic-self to race away, while Full back Hugh Jeffery also managing a hat/trick of tries. This was an amazing exhibition of total rugby as the power of the pack and speed of the backs completely dominated proceedings
Coney Hill crossed for a consolation try late on but it was too little too late as the final score mounted up to 80-10 in favour of Nor.
Special mention must also goes to Norton’s Alex Davis who made his debut for the 1st XV in the second row.
Bristol Saracens RFC 17 v Midsomer Norton RFC 27
7th Dec 2019
Norton won the toss and chose to play up the slope and into the strong wind in the first half. A positive start with strong ball carrying put pressure on the Saracens defence early on, but it was the home side who scored first when centre Werret found the space open up from a simple scissors in midfield before good continuity resulted in Will Harding touching down in the corner. Minutes later Werret handed off and shimmied inside again to score himself leaving the home side 10 nil up after another missed conversion.
In dire need of inspiration to get back on-track, Norton were lucky to have Luke Murphy on hand. Gliding with the ball in two hands, seeing non-existent imaginary gaps in the defence and then somehow ghosting through then finding Clark in support who passed back to Murphy who scored a typical ridiculous try. Taylor converted before Murphy decided to repeat the trick from closer in to make the score 10 v 12.
Bristol Saracens managed to pull one score back in the second half but Norton asserted themselves more effectively and scored a further 2 tries. Some fine handling and support play resulted in Schuster scoring in the corner. Connor had a superb game both in defence and attack, providing the team with energy and confidence. The final try came from a series of powerful phases and Matthew Denning, back following an ankle injury, threaded the ball to James Abbott who cut a great line to score under the posts.
Bristol Saracens are much improved form their early season form and they put in a great shift in an attempt to score a bonus point try at the end of the game but Midsomer Norton's improved second half defence held firm.
Final score Bristol Saracens RFC 17 v Midsomer Norton RFC 27
Midsomer Norton 25 v 3 Barton Hill
23rd Nov 2019
Midsomer Norton beat Barton Hill 25 v 3 at Norton Down, scoring 3 tries and not allowing the visitors over the whitewash. The conditions were slippery and this had a large effect on the game with both sides finding continuity over a sustained period difficult. Norton most certainly improved their line-speed and decision making in defence on this occasion and they will be happy with the industry and effort.
Norton’s first try was from a powerful break from Mitchard who found Button in support who in turn offloaded to skipper Fear to score. Even with territorial dominance for large periods, Norton were unable to score their second try until later into the second half through a combination of their own lack of patience and gutsy Barton Hill defence. When it finally came it was Ibberson who popped up on the blindside to drive over from close range and then Will Edgell scored late on from more sustained pressure.
The bonus point was not to be and the Mendip men who are looking forward to Frome next week in a much-anticipated Somerset Cup fixture. They are also playing well at the moment so it promises to be fun. Look out for updates @MN_RFC
Midsomer Norton 27 Stroud 34
9th Nov 2019
This Western Counties North top of the table clash exceeded expectations and more as a great game was on display at Norton Down, where the result was decided with the final play of the game.
Midsomer Norton began playing down the slope in the first half, they held possession of the ball for long period but Strouds defence held firm with most of the half being played in the away sides half. Ben Taylor got the scores underway with 2 penalty kicks followed by a debut try for 17 year old Noah Watts, who displayed his young talent throughout the match. Before half time Stroud also slotted a penalty and converted try taking the score to 13-10 going into the break.
The 2nd half began and it was clear that both sides were well up for the contest, both sides carried the ball well up front. Stroud looked dangerous out wide while Norton’s scrum had the upper hand - resulting in penalty’s within the range of Taylor who calmly kicked from the tee as usual.
As the 2nd half progressed, holes in both sides defence began to appear. Norton’s scrum half Luke Murphy darted from the base of a scrum, he glided through the defence to score a great individual try.
The visitors then replied as they capitalised on Norton’s untidy kick off receive, the ball was spread to the opposite touchline for the Stroud winger to touch down In the corner.
Following another try for Norton’s Noah Watts as well as Stroud crossing the white wash again the scores were 28-27 in favour of Norton with 5 minutes to play.
Norton had possession of the ball inside of the Stroud half with the intentions of running down the clock. Of course Stroud had other ideas. In the last play of the game Stroud managed to rip the ball in contact to regain possession, they spread the ball wide sharply as they did all game. A link up in the backs saw them go three quarters of the pitch to score and win the match, 27-34.
Heartbreak for Norton who played very well but what a game of rugby this was, a hard fought, equal contest that Stroud edged on this occasion. The visitors deserve massive credit for being clinical in the dying seconds to clinch victory.
Winscombe 3 v 31 Midsomer Norton
1st Nov 2019
Midsomer Norton 1st team set off for another away game in the rain for the rearranged fixture with Winscombe under lights on Friday night. The home side started in spirited fashion down the hill, exchanging penalties to make the score 3 all but it was Norton who scored the first try through Alex Mitchard. The veteran centre has been rolling back the years recently and was on wrecking ball form again, bouncing off tackles and making the opposition pay with an excellent score. Taylor converted and we went into half time at 3 v 10.
With the slope in their favour in the second period Norton dominated territory through powerful play up front and decisive tactical kicking allied with a relentless kick-chase. It took just 5 minutes for Connor Schuster to score with his first touch after yet another break from the all-action scrum half Luke Murphy. The third try was on 70 minutes, and came from a scrum close to the Winscombe line, where Murphy wriggled over after combining with Joe Button from the base. It was then déjà vu as the Mendip men showed patience to work their way towards the line hunting for the bonus point try. It was down to the last play of the game, as it was last week, and James Abbott was put through by Tom Clark to score under the posts. Taylor converted to maintain a perfect kicking display from the tee making the final score Winscombe 3 v Midsomer Norton 31.
A special mention must go to the returning Matthew Edgell, Connor Schuster and Scott Goddard who all applied themselves well and got up to speed straight away. 17-year-old Noah Watts also had a solid start to what will undoubtedly be a long and successful career, after coming on in the second half on the wing.
Two away games in difficult conditions resulting in two bonus-point victories with no tries conceded in a fortnight highlight the ferocious defence and game management that has been very pleasing to see.
Preparations now start for the visit of unbeaten league leaders Stroud to Norton Down next Saturday. Stroud are a fine all-round side and this will be a game worth watching so we hope to see a bumper crowd cheer us on. See you there
Gloucester Spartans 0 v Midsomer Norton 22.
26th Oct 2019
Norton headed up the M5 once again on a wet miserable day to play against Spartans RFC. The most difficult part of the day was the travelling, getting changed in a confined space, and then walking for half a mile to get to the pitch. The game itself was, in all fairness, pretty easy. Great discipline was shown by the Mendip men, who were in Green for the day, as they managed to keep a cool head and didn’t react to the attempts to turn the game into a scrap by Spartans. Late hits and weak attempts at intimidation were laughed off as Norton scored early on through Mitchard who raced through under the posts after a break from the impressive Sam Church. Taylor converted and Norton looked to capitalise on a good start.
A second try came from a lineout close to the line where Tom Fear intelligently drove through the line when Spartans attempted to not make contact and therefore not let Norton maul. A quick pick and go by Robbie Fuller followed and Norton were two tries up. The third was to come at the end of the first period, after some excellent tackling and pressure Ben Palmer hacked through to score.
The second half was an attritional, and quite frankly boring affair that mainly involved Norton camping in Spartan territory whilst the home side worked hard and defended their line admirably. Norton were delighted to get a bonus point try with the last play of the game from a maul scored by skipper Tom Fear and the away team thoroughly deserved full points due to their patience and discipline. Final score was Spartans 0 v Midsomer Norton 22.
Midsomer Norton 30 - Old Bristolians 19
19th Oct 2019
The rain finally made way and the sun came out to allow the match to be played in dry conditions. Midsomer Norton started well up the slope in the first half, gaps appeared in the Old Bristolians defence for 2 early tries. Scrum half Luke Murphy went on a darting attack around the fringes of a ruck, passing to Joe Knight who used his pace to run in for the first score. Shortly after, Dyer received the ball on his wing from inside his half and shot down the wing to score taking it to 12-0
Old Bristolians then got onto the scoresheet after the full back made a clean break in the Norton defence from out wide. A series of offloads led to a well worked try for the away side. Norton’s rampant Joe Button managed 2 tries during the opening 40. One from the base of a well worked catch and drive lineout, the other was a strong carry to power over the line.
The 2nd half kicked off and it was clear that Old Bristolians were hungry in attack. They were the first to score, a missed tackle from Norton in midfield allowed Old Bristolians 7 points.
Throughout the second half, Norton found themselves with possession of the ball in there own half, Fly Half James Abbott continued to calmly exit and kick well for territory, relieving pressure when necessary. However further missed tackles let the home side down at times, as Bristolians scored their 3rd try of the match with 60 minutes gone. Norton then extended the lead with a penalty kicked by Ben Taylor and another try from Lewis Dyer. The ball was slickly passed through multiple hands and ended up with the winger who touched down in the corner.
A bonus point win for Norton was the outcome, but they’ll be looking to put in a performance for the full 80 minutes this Saturday when they travel to recently promoted Gloucester Spartans, who have made a respectful start to the 2019-20 campaign.
Matson RFC 50 v Midsomer Norton RFC 7
5th Oct 2019
What a difference a week makes. An unprecedented amount of unavailability meant that both the thirds and seconds had to be cancelled due to lack of players. The first team was still strong and there are no excuses regarding the personnel. Matson raised their game as they often seem do against Norton and were excellent from the outset, playing a similar style to what has worked so well for the Mendip men in the early season games. Their set-piece was solid and Matson won the collisions and gain-line before utilising their pace out wide and also kicking well tactically.
Matson were better in most areas and most certainly smarter and more street-wise with regards to adapting to the way in which the game was refereed. The offside line didn’t seem to exist at the breakdown at times and Matson worked that out and used it to their advantage which was the right thing to do. Home captain John Hennessy had a remarkable performance, whether it was sliding in the side of the maul like an invisible giant octopus getting his telescopic arms on the ball, making the hard yards, or giving subtle one-handed scoring passes he was the clear standout player in what was a fine all-round performance from the Gloucester boys.
Norton’s only try was scored by youngster Robbie Fuller after some hard ball carrying. This was a good lesson for Midsomer Norton and it shall be learned.
Midsomer Norton 50pts v 12pts Gordano
28th Sept 2019
Following an excellent lunch over 50 former MNRFC players mingled with the rest of the spectators to watch what they hoped would be a good game of Rugby. What followed was an exhibition of 15 man exciting and entertaining Rugby.
Norton started playing downhill with the wind on their backs knowing they needed a good lead to take into the second half. This they achieved with four sparkling tries. To the amazement of the watching former players all tries were scored by the Norton Backs, including scores from Alex Mitchard, Joe Knight and two from full back Hugh Jeffery. At half time Norton had secured the try bonus point.
Gordano now had the elements in their favour however Norton seemed to find another gear and after only 3 minutes of the restart Alex Mitchard cut through the Gordano midfield to score a fine try. 5 minutes later Gordano scored their first try but any hope of a comeback was snuffed out with further Norton tries from Tom Clark and scrum half Luke Murphy who is developing into a 9 of the vintage of a number of the club legends watching the game.
Gordano scored again in the 75th minute. As the final whistle was in the referee’s mouth Norton mounted one final surge, with the ball being passed through numerous pairs of hands a move of some 80 yards ended up with Murphy touching down. He then added the extra 2 points to give Norton a well-deserved 50 pts.
Although 7 of the 8 tries were scored by the Backs the platform for victory was built on the power and skill of the dominant pack of forwards. After 4 games played Midsomer Norton sit on top of the League with a maximum 20pts.
In contrast to the normal post match former players discussions, the topic was not how good we were in the past but how good these young players are in the present.
Coney Hill 12 v Midsomer Norton 46
21st Sept 2019
The Indian summer continued as Norton followed the road much travelled to Gloucester for the third League match of the season. The first half was comfortable but frustrating as some inaccuracies meant that the score was only 5 v 10 at half time. James Abbott scoring under the posts after an offload from Tom Clark and Taylor kicking the conversion and a Penalty.
The second half was much more satisfying as Norton showed glimpses of their early season form. Tries from Luke Murphy and Joe Knight were followed by a brace from Joe Button. His first was from an excellent five-meter scrum and the second was an audacious chip and chase from his own half. First team coach Martin Blackmore said he was happy to see all that work on the training pitch with Joe working on his kicking has paid off. “It’s about time Joe kicked the ball more” he said.
The final try was scored in the corner by Ben Palmer but the assist from Murphy was remarkable, as he twisted and turned past numerous defenders before threading an inch perfect pass. So, a good win for Norton and they look forward to Gordano at home next week.
Midsomer Norton 46 Clevedon 19
14th Sept 2019
Midsomer Norton 1st XV welcomed Clevedon on a beautiful day at Norton down for what was a very entertaining afternoon of running rugby.
The red and whites started well, exerting lots of pressure during the opening minutes. Taylor slotted a penalty from close range to give Norton the lead, 3-0.
This early pressure continued, Norton were knocking on the door allowing Clevedon no choice but to concede penalty’s. The home side kept kicking to the corner to eventually set up a strong catch and drive with Button dotting the ball down, 8-0.
Norton began to dominate in all aspects of the game. The lineout was accurate giving great platform and the scrum was effective as usual from the ever so bullying pack. Whilst Clevedon were knocking on the Norton door, it was soon slammed shut as the organised Nor defence held firm.
One attack started from deep inside the Norton half, soft hands from Mitchard and Lewis Dyer allowed Ben Taylor to finish off a great try in which Taylor outpaced a covering defender to cross the line. Shortly afterwards Matthew Denning was rewarded for resilient support play, hooker Mitch Rose carried hard and offloaded to Denning for a run in under the sticks.
Button then made it across the whitewash to extend the lead to 27-0 going into the break.
Clevedon came out in the 2nd half fighting, they collected their first try in the corner after an overlap was executed well with slick hands. 27-5
Norton got their hands back on he ball, prop Will Edgell carried hard then fended off multiple defenders to bulldoze over the line. 34-5.
Further tries in the second half came from Mitchard (a perfectly timed 2 against 1 with the full back) and Joe Button again, grabbing his hat-trick.
However Clevedon didn’t give up, they held on to the ball for pretty much the final 15 minutes, managing to score a further 2 tries taking the final score to 46-19 in favour of Norton.
A great all round team performance from Nor, proving dominance up front in the pack whilst there was flare and accuracy out wide within the backs.
Chipping Sodbury 5 Midsomer Norton 48
7th Sept 2019
Norton were chomping at the bit to get stuck into some League rugby after a positive pre-season as they travelled to Chipping Sodbury for the season opener. After a very positive start they took the lead with a penalty from last years player of the season Ben Taylor but then the home side hit back by exploiting the blindside to lead 5 v 3. At this point Sodbury had a bounce in their step and felt they had the measure of the Mendip side, unfortunately for them what followed was a fine all-round performance where Midsomer Norton dominated in every aspect of the game. Hard running, cutting lines with players always in support for the offloads made the most of their superior fitness and skill-set. Aligned with a solid set piece, relentless defence and tactical kicking, the men in red and white were a class above and played some exciting rugby full of flair and fortitude.
Norton’s first try came from constant pressure up front and fast hands to give Jeffery a chance to wriggle and squirm and throw out a telescopic arm to touch down. Then, at the end of the first half, Button picked up from the base and tip-toed over the line like a 16 stone ballerina. The score was 5 v 17 when the sides changed ends.
The second half was completely dominated by Midsomer Norton from the kick off and it only took a couple of minutes for Murphy to score in the corner in his first start at 9 was controlling the game superbly along with half-back partner James Abbott. Then it was the captain’s turn as Tom Fear crashed over after some scintillating interplay between forwards and backs. Back to Murphy for the next score as he and Button worked an almost identical try to his first as Button gave the scoring pass.
Two more tries were to follow as the Norton side continued to throw the ball about and create space at every opportunity. Mitchard swung out a pass that Cipriani would have been proud of to give Joe Knight the ball on the wing with 30 yards to go and he burned the outside defence to touch down. The final try came from a Button rampage down the right hand side starting in his own half before Jeffery appeared out of nowhere to receive yet another offload and score under the posts.
The whole team performed extremely well and will take confidence into the next fixture at home vs Clevedon. We urge anyone who likes to watch quality sport to come and watch the best show in town.