CLEOBURY Mortimer have stormed to the top of North Mids One after a hard-fought win over previous leaders Kings Norton. A Julian Harding penalty and Colin Todd's try were enough to secure a vital 8-5 victory over their fellow high-fliers.

Having been on the receiving end of some robust tactics at Kings Norton earlier in the season, Cleobury had prepared well for the return encounter. But it still took some strong refereeing from the match official as the Birmingham side tried some intimidatory tactics in the opening exchanges.

Three times he talked to opposition forwards as Cleobury scored one penalty through Harding but missed with two other attempts in the swirling wind.

On the fourth occasion the official's patience ran out and he 'yellow carded' the Kings Norton prop for a foul on a Cleobury forward caught at the bottom of a ruck.

Then, just five minutes later, Kings Norton had obviously not learned their lesson as a second player was sent to he sin bin.

Cleobury tried to capitalise upon their numerical advantage and extended their lead before the break when flanker Todd was put over at the corner flag, although the conversion was wide.

The second half followed a similar pattern as the first with much of the play in the middle third of the pitch. Back to full strength, Kings Norton worked the Cleobury defence hard and saw two penalty chances go begging.

And the visitors eventually made their pressure tell by crossing for a late try.

But the Mortimer men showed great desire to win the game and held out for the points that take them top. Cleobury are now two points clear of Kings Norton and Stourport Lions, although the latter have a game in hand. They travel to struggling Birmingham CS on Saturday.