Wimborne 22 - 22 Midsomer Norton
WIMBORNE THWARTED WHEN LAST MINUTE SCORE RESULTED IN SHARED POINTS WITH LEAGUE LEADERS
Wimborne came agonisingly close to pulling off a major coup on Saturday when only a last minute try and the nerve of the visitors place kicker meant that league leaders Midsomer Norton were able to return to Somerset with a bonus point draw.
Once again, as has been the case in recent weeks, the elements were key to the manner in which the match unfolded with a very strong cross field breeze favouring Wimborne in the first half.
Nevertheless it was Midsomer Norton in the early stages who demonstrated why they have only lost one league match so far this season with a well organised start to the match when they set out their stall to play a tight and controlled game. They achieved the first score of the match as early as the seventh minute when after a series of forward drives they mauled their way over the home team’s try line.
Wimborne for their part with an unchanged pack of forwards for the first time this season and well back in to last, whilst largely on the back foot in the early exchanges defended ferociously which has become something of a positive trait for them this season.
Consequently the visitors did not find it as easy as it first might have looked to press home their early advantage and it was Wimborne who worked their way down into the oppositions territory and set up a driving maul of their own with Ed Carter emerging from the melee of forwards to claim the try. Then five minutes later with sixteen minutes on the clock Dylan Case, making his debut at scrum half was able to find some space from the base of a ruck to feed Paul Roberts out wide who made ground and passed back inside to Ollie Hamer for a crisply executed try. Tom Chaffey converted will a well judged kick drawing it in on the wind to see Wimborne finding themselves 12-5 up within the first quarter.
Thereafter with the bit very firmly between their teeth Wimborne could have put themselves out of sight and secured the match only for on three occasions crossing the line only to be held up twice whist in between the referee being unable to give a score after an eighty metre kick and chase from Case was inconclusive.
For all their efforts there was a feeling that these missed opportunities might be costly in the final reckoning so when following a further period of sustained pressure in the visitors twenty two Wimborne were awarded a penalty with three minutes to half time they rightly took the chance to extend their lead and Chaffey obliged accordingly to reach half time 15 points to 3 to the good.
Wimborne clearly knew what to expect in the second half but were caught slightly flat footed for once when after only seven minutes a long missed pass set the visitors winger up for a score in the corner.
Rumblings amongst the home supporters at this point might have suggested that the flood gates were about to open but those of dwindling faith were soon given renewed hope when against the run of play Wimborne set up a forward drive close to the visitors line and with Tyler Adams to the fore Marcus Atkins who had come off the bench for injured skipper Watson in the first half and was making a welcome return to first team rugby was on hand to complete the score. With Chaffey again converting suddenly with just less than half an hour to play Wimborne found themselves 22 to 10 to the good.
As expected Midsomer Norton have clearly not won a succession of tight matches this season without showing resolve of their own and whilst they brought the game back to Wimborne that were finding it increasingly difficult to break down Wimborne’s spirited defence and as the half progressed more and more chinks appeared in their efforts.
Moving in to the last quarter both teams lost a back row player to the sin bin and eventually the Wimborne rear guard action cracked when from a penalty and line out Midsomer Norton drove over the line.
Wimborne continued to defend frantically and against all the odds it looks as if they were about to hold out for a famous victory when in the final minute the visitors opted for a scrum close to the line and with their man advantage restored drove Wimborne back and who were unable to repel the pushover score and a fourth try bonus point. The Midsomer Norton kicker still had work to do but calmly slotted the conversion to bring proceedings to an end.
For Wimborne the draw seemed almost akin to a defeat having held out for so long although in the final reckoning they continued to show huge improvement from early season exploits with just one week left to the Christmas break.
1 T.Adams 2 S.Barker 3 P.Mills 4 T.Starr 5 S. Longmire 6 P.Watson(capt) 7 E.Carter 8 D.Foley
9 D.Case 10 W.Tabard 11 P.Roberts 12 O.Hamer 13 J.Adams 14 J.Bartlett 15 T.Chaffey
Replacements G.Draper, J Brokenshire, M Atkins