Point for Cleve but Norton are too strong

CLEVE made a strong start in their home game with Midsomer Norton but the visitors had the better of the second half.

Cleve started well from the kick-off, playing all the rugby in Norton’s 22.

After a quick break through Norton’s defence, Will Warman got on the end of a pass and went over. From the Norton’s kick-off Cleve went straight back into Norton’s 22 and a drive from a lineout gave Will Warman a chance to release the backs.

A kick through by Liam Clode saw Nathan Huntley gather and go over, to put Cleve 12-0 up after 10 minutes.

But the flurry of tries pushed Norton out of their lethargy. They gained possession and went up-field to score under the posts.

Cleve, however, were still in the ascendancy. Their lineouts were functioning really well: their catch and drive continuously gained them ground.

Another foray into Norton’s 22 saw a penalty leading to a scrum close to the line.

Number 8 Alex Bell picked up the ball at the base of the scrum and went over to score, the conversion putting Cleve 19-7 ahead.

Gusty strong winds made kicking very difficult: at one point a Norton player kicked the ball upwards and the ball ended up behind him.

Cleve were nearly able to take advantage – Nathan Huntly gathered, and it almost led to a try. 

But Norton started to put moves together and, after some good ball movement, they scored in successive moves to make it 19-17 to Cleve.

A penalty against Norton allowed Huntly to step up and slot over, but Norton, as they had all game, responded and went down the pitch and scored, to make it level at 22-all at half-time. 

Norton started the second half with more attacking play, scoring immediately after the restart to go into the lead for the first time, 29-22.

Cleve continued to pressure but lacked the precision to score when they came close to the line. This gave Norton encouragement and they scored again quickly, going 39-22 ahead.

Cleve were now playing for a bonus point for scoring four tries.

They attacked the Norton line and, after several good passing moves, Bell scored in the corner to make the final score 39-27 to Norton.

Cleve deserved a league point after their tremendous effort during the game.

 Steve Bateman