It is six years since Wells last travelled to Midsomer Norton for a league fixture and in the intervening period both clubs have followed similar patterns. Both have risen from Tribute Somerset Premier, both at different times going into Southern Counties and both made it to Tribute South West One, Wells for two seasons, Midsomer Norton for just the one, before falling back to their current level in Tribute Western Counties North. Of the Wells team that played here in November 2011, just five players played last Saturday.
With a number of front row forwards out through injury and suspension Wells never the less fielded what on paper looked a strong team. George Killen in at fullback, Callum Stonier moving from flank to inside centre the ever present Charlie Willcox outside him. Marco Hiscox was at seven, Jake Knight back at scrum half and Al Payne continued as captain.
In front of a large crowd Wells were playing up the slight slope on what looked like an excellently prepared pitch. They were also playing into a brisk wind, but with ball in hand soon got into their stride. However it soon became apparent that the home team had a very formidable pack, especially in the set piece. Wells deservedly took the lead after twelve minutes with an Aaron Cook penalty, Midsomer Norton equalising five minutes later with one of their own. After a Wells drive from a lineout was illegally stopped they were awarded a penalty try and seven points. Things looked even better on twenty six minutes when quick thinking Jake Knight quickly took a penalty to dash over for a try and Wells took the lead by fifteen points to six. However Midsomer Norton’s powerful pack earned them two tries and a penalty before, on the stroke of half time, Lewis Cohen finished off a move in the corner, Midsomer Norton nineteen, Wells twenty.
With the wind and slope in their favour it seemed that Wells would take control, but whilst Aaron Cook scored an excellent try which he himself converted after ten minutes of the half, the home teams pack was always there, stealing scrums and denying possession to the visitors, And whilst Marco Hiscox and Lewis Cohen both had excellent games at the lineout, two were lost at crucial times during the half. The first of these led to the a Midsomer Norton try half way through the half with the right winger scoring out wide.
Just three points now seperated the teams with twenty minutes to go. Just as in the previous week Wells defended brilliantly and when at last they broke out and got down the field with minutes remaining it looked like the game would be won. However heartbreak, Wells were attacking inside the home teams twenty two, but lost the ball. A solo break and an eighty metre run for the line. George Killen to his credit caught and made the tackle, but the ball was recovered and a try awarded. A conversion and Midsomer Norton six points up with literally seconds to go. A re-start and a lineout and that was it, Midsomer Norton’s power up front had just beaten the ambition and skill of Wells. Could be a good game to watch when these two teams meet again in January.
For the neutral it was a wonderfully exciting game, for the home team the glee on their faces showed how much it meant to them, for Wells, at least the consolation of two points, one for four tries and one for being with seven points.
This weekend Wells host Yatton one of four teams who like Wells are on eleven points in the table, so an exciting game should be in prospect. The Second team travel to Martock. Both games kick off at 3pm.
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