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Norton hit back for fine success
8:00am Thursday 11th October 2012 in Sport
Kings Norton 19, Cheltenham North 14
KINGS Norton showed their character as they battled back to see off Cheltenham in the Midlands Three West (South).
The Hopwood Park-based outfit found themselves trailing 14-0 after a devastating opening 12 minutes of controlled rugby by the visitors, who scored two excellent converted tries.
But despite being overran, a much changed and disorganised Norton squad dug deep to respond.
After the initial setback, Kings gradually hauled themselves into the game with Tom Hatfield and Chris Hands coming to the fore.
After 16 minutes, Hatfield broke away from halfway only to be stopped just short of the line.
But from the resulting penalty, Chris Carlin used his speed to side-step Cheltenham’s defence to pull back an unconverted try.
As the match wore on, the hosts were starting to function more as a unit and when captain Gareth Westwater switched himself back to full-back to make space for veteran Dai Thomas, they gained parity with their Gloucestershire rivals.
Cheltenham had a player sin-binned and Kings took full advantage of their extra man and scored a try through Jack Fairhurst which Carlin converted to close the gap to two points.
The hosts made a strong start to the second-half but saw Ed Jones sin-binned.
Despite the setback, they stood firm in defence, with Westwater producing a great try-saving tackle.
The final 20 minutes saw Kings put in a massive defensive effort to prevent the visitors from scoring.
They also looked dangerous on the break and good work by Dai Davis and Carlin set-up Fairhurst for a converted try.
Kings were set to entertain Lordswood Dixonians in the North Midlands Shield on Saturday but have pulled out.
Kings are now weighing up whether to play a pool friendly game.