Norton does not Tak long to make his mark

Harry O'Brien tries to escape the attentions of a Bedworth tackler. Picture submitted
Harry O'Brien tries to escape the attentions of a Bedworth tackler. Picture submitted


New Zealander Takerei Norton did not take long to stamp his mark on the game on his return to Kenilworth colours, writes Ralph Murray.

Kenilworth’s first serious attack of this Midlands Two West (South) match saw Norton charge down the left wing and put Stephen Todd away but the ball was lost forward in an attempt to ground the ball.

This was to prove only a temporary delay in opening the score as the next attack saw some slick interplay between Gareth Renowden and Norton which was finished off by Dominic Sheehan under the posts.

Shortly after, Ks won a lineout 15 metres out and Jonny Openshaw secured good ball which eventually found its way to Jimmy Middleton five metres out. The winger still had plenty to do with two Bedworth defenders between him and the line, but he showed great strength to force his way over and secure the second try of the afternoon.

From the restart, Ks secured the ball at the ensuing ruck and began a move from well inside their own half. The ball was moved quickly to Simon Tyler on the right wing who then began a great series of passes with Sheehan and Norton which ended in a score for the New Zealander under the posts.

The Kenilworth XV were now playing with such precision and tempo that a record score was on the cards and the next attack saw a sublime offload from Jake Dodd to Ross Lowthian who rampaged towards the line but the ball was lost in contact. Ks eventually won a scrum five metres out and Renowden exploited a wide open blindside to go over unopposed.

The rout was now on and almost immediately from the restart the backs again exhibited superb handling with Tyler at the heart of it; his final pass putting O’Brien away with still a long way to go but the outside half put the burners on to beat the chasing defenders and score in the corner.

The next home attack produced a kick ahead and Openshaw showed a cool head and deft footwork to nudge the ball ahead and score in the corner.

There was no let up from the hosts as they again probed the Bedworth line with a series of pick-and-drives.Sheehan appeared to have been held up but out popped Dodd with the ball to bring the first-half scoring to a close at 41-0.

Bedworth, to their credit, never threw in the towel and a period of sustained pressure close to the Ks line was the main action at the start of the second half.

But great work by Jack Gibson secured the ball and put Tyler away on a break down the left. With defenders closing, he found Middleton who outran the defence to score his second of the afternoon.

Sam Flowers then collected the kick-off and found O’Brien who timed his pass to perfection to put Sheehan in under the posts. Tim Kendall added the two to make the score 55-0.

Bedworth, again pinned down close to their line, attempted to run their way out of trouble but Bobby Thompson anticipated well to intercept and score under the posts.

Play was halted due to a serious injury to the Bedworth winger and his replacement, with his first touch, found himself on the right wing facing three defenders but stepped neatly inside to open the visitors’ account.

Normal service was resumed almost immediately as Ks took the restart and produced another series of passes between forwards and backs to put replacement Alex Selby over for another score.

Bedworth would not give up and for almost five minutes pounded the Ks line but were kept out by some outstanding defence.

Eventually the pressure told and Bedworth scored a consolation try which was just reward for their unstinting efforts.

But, in a final statement of intent, Kenilworth stormed back up the pitch to finish off proceedings with a deserved try for Tyler.