Bath Combination Cup Semi-Final:
Midsomer Norton 46
University of Bath 43
Midsomer Norton triumphed in a truly remarkable Bath Combination Cup Semi-Final over the University of Bath that will be remembered for a very long time. The home side trailed Team Bath 27-43 with ten minutes to play but rallied against all odds to win 46-43.
Button put the hosts in front, with Norton’s maul driving them over from the line-out, created by Abbott’s superb kick. However the much-fancied visitors soon showed their class as they powered into a half-time lead.
The away side were good over the ball and dangerous with fast, flowing attacks. Bath’s wingers Walls and Dunstan both scored two in very similar fashion – both taking advantage of Norton’s misguided attempts to keep the ball in play for their first tries, before both finishing fine flowing moves in the corner for their second. Taylor’s boot kept Norton’s score ticking over, but none the less they trailed 11-29 at the break.
Norton started the second half strongly – and Taylor added two more penalties to reduce the deficit. Both sides then traded tries. Salveson scored from the back of the maul for the University before Nor’s imperious captain Tom Fear powered over after a quick tap and go. However any glimmer of hope was surely extinguished when Bath’s captain Chase’s try extended the lead to 16 points.
But this was not a normal game. And Norton scored three tries in a scarcely believable last six minutes to pull off a thrilling comeback. First Schuster scored under the posts, cutting a fine line off Abbot, but it felt as if merely adding some respectability to the score. Even when Hawker, only on a matter of minutes as a substitute, finished in the corner with four minutes to go, a victory felt unlikely.
But Norton, in possession deep in their own half from kick off, showed patience and grit to fashion one final opportunity in a move that lasted 16 phases and two minutes. Norton eventually worked it out of their own 22 and Hawker’s break summoned a huge roar from the home support. Denning almost broke through but was denied before Meacham fed the ball to Jeffery to bulldoze his way under the posts with just over a minute left on the clock. It was his 32nd try of the season and by far the most memorable. Moments later he kicked the ball out to bring an end to a fine contest. It was met with a delirious reaction from those who could not believe what they had witnessed.
Midsomer Norton will face Trowbridge or Chippenham in the final at The Rec in Bath on Wednesday 26th April.