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DAVID NORMAN – 21.09.1973 TO 11.03.2020

| 13/03/2020

All members of Bridgwater & Albion Rugby Football Club past and present were shocked and saddened by the sudden and tragic death of stalwart David Norman on Wednesday.

David had come up through our Minis and Juniors ranks and played in the Colts before embarking in our senior XV’s where he has been present for many years.  He has always been an extremely capable player and ought to have enhanced his 1st XV career much more than actually happened.  However he was always content to turn out for the club whenever and wherever required and in whatever side and indeed in a variety of positions.  Naturally a hooker but well capable of being on either side of the front row as well as in the back row.  He always made a full contribution to every game he played in.  He was an outstanding teammate on the basis that other players knew that he would give his all and he could be relied on to lead from the front.  He captained our Dirtrackers side for several seasons and had a tremendous following amongst the players – so much so that in those days the Dirtrackers could field a side and a half and sometimes almost two teams – such was the popularity and the quality of the play.  

Dave was a disciple of the late great Dirtracker manager Jack Smith.  Together they ensured that the Dirtrackers remained strong and competitive.  Dave was on the point of hoping to resurrect a Dirtrackers/veterans XV and the club certainly hopes that someone else will take over that mantle.  

Dave had a relatively early introduction to senior rugby – mainly through playing for Bridgwater & Taunton Police where his father Rex was an incumbent.  That ensured that Dave was ready for senior rugby when he came through from the Colts XV.  

Dave’s prowess was such that he has been sought after by the 1st XV in fairly recent times due to his ability to adapt to the front row positions and made his last 1st XV appearance on 3 February 2018 as a replacement against Exeter University – one of his four appearances than season.  

He made his 1st XV debut on 2 September 2000 at Keynsham in South West I (Level 5) and in all made 19 1st XV appearances.  Despite these few appearances at the top – the majority were at a time when the club needed his skills and durability when encountering problems in their front row personnel.  He readily stepped up to the mark and never let the side down.  He would have been somewhat pleased with the prowess of the Dirtrackers’ front row which showed through when Dave and Jason Moulding both played in a match at Exmouth in 2011/12.  That same season the third member of the Dirtrackers front row Matt Ruddle also appeared in the 1st XV.   Only last Saturday he was assisting our United XV to a fine win against Midsomer Norton here at College Way and scoring a typical barnstorming close range try as well as performing for the full 80 minutes.

Not only was he a player of considerable quality – he was also a very heavy try-scorer.  Give him the sniff of the line from a few metres out and a quick tap penalty and he would be over time and time again.  He often got the opposition unawares in these moves but we always knew what was going to happen and a certain 5 points for us.  Dave accumulated over 200 tries in his career of around 700 games.  

Perhaps his crowning glory was the Dirtrackers’ 2009/10 season when they were in a race with Wellington II for the Somerset 2 South title.  The teams tied at the top and both were promoted to Somerset 1.  This was a time when Albion’s 2nd XV was in limbo but the team returned to take over the mantle of promotion in Somerset 1 the following season.  The playing record of 20-4 and 725 points against 200 tells the tale of dedication, commitment and leadership.  He himself scored over 20 times to assist the cause. 

Dave was well known on the Somerset league circuit and was a highly respected opponent from all clubs whom he encountered.  His hard but very fair style of play and enthusiasm, energy and wit regaled his opponents and as a result, the spirit of the games in which he played meant enjoyment for all concerned.  

In recent times Dave has taken to coaching or Ladies XV in which his wife Karen is making excellent progress as a player and the team is developing well.  

He has lit up both the Broadway Ground and College Way over 30+ years with his considerable energy, enthusiasm and skills and he will be sadly missed both on and off the field where he was an extremely popular member of the club.  

Both of our XV’s in action this weekend will be grieving but will wish to ensure that they produce worthy performances to honour such a magnificent team and club man.

The club extends its sincere sympathies and condolences to Karen and her family and also to parents Rex and Carol Norman and sister Sally who have also been involved and connected with the club for many seasons.  


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