Midsomer Norton started 2017 by welcoming Okehampton to a damp Norton Down, hoping to turn their fortunes around. The squad was still not up to full strength, so knew they were facing a stern test, but were looking forward to the battle.

The victors started the brighter of the two sides and were soon testing the home side’s defence. Surprisingly, after a few minutes and Norton having only conceded a couple of penalties, the referee decided to award a penalty try to the visitors. Okehampton extended their lead quickly to 10 points with a penalty goal.

The home team started to get into their stride, and set up some concerted attacks with Edgell Murphy and Martin running strongly. The home team pressured the Okehampton line with scrum half, Johnson, trying to find holes, but he was unable to cross it and had to be content with a penalty to reduce the deficit.

The visitors’ forwards were proving to be a match for the home pack, especially in the scrummage, reducing the amount of good clean attacking ball the home side’s backs were given. A lapse in the defence allowed Okehampton to score a second try, giving them a 17–3 lead.

From the restart, Okehampton put pressure on the home side’s 22m area and managed to charge down a clearance kick collected by the chaser to score, extending Okehampton’s lead to nineteen points.

Norton now literally had an uphill battle and their forwards led the way, with Jenner, Fear and Denning carrying the ball in open play – but the opposition always managed to snuff out the attacks. Their defence, having stopped the attacks, turned the ball over and ran the ball back steadily, increasing their lead with five more tries.

Norton had one chance to score when Denning was driven over the line, but the referee decided that an Okehampton hand was under the ball and disallowed the try.

Well beaten again the team never gave up and second row, Goddard, showed his potential and impressed with his work rate in all aspects of the game.