The likelihood of Dan Norton reaching Twickenham this season was always high. The chance of him doing it with Moseley less so.
But even the free-scoring wing didn’t consider the possibility that the three teams with which he has direct involvement might play there on the same day.
Yet that is the reality the fleet-footed 21-year-old is contemplating as Moseley’s underdogs take on Leeds Carnegie in the National Trophy final on Saturday.
Before that match, however, Norton’s student side Hartpury College face Clifton in a 10am kick-off for the Intermediate Cup. After it his parent club Gloucester go toe-to-toe with Cardiff Blues once again this season, this time for the EDF Energy title.
If Norton had three feet he’d have one in each camp.
As it is he has only two, both of which are planted firmly under the Red and Black standard and will be fully occupied with curtailing the thrusts of the most dynamic set of wings in the competition. That task demands he wakes up with his game-head firmly screwed on and dictates that he will not see his fellow under-graduates attempt to secure a hat-trick of early morning knockout championships.
Last season Allan Lewis’ students beat Wheatley 83-5 in the Senior Vase, 12 months before that they battered Billericay 72-11 to take the Junior Vase. They are favourites to make it three in a row and Norton will rely on his father for regular updates.
Not that Norton could help them even if he wanted to. Having played and scored for Moseley in three rounds of the Trophy he is cup tied, indeed it could be reasonably argued the Billesley outfit would not even be in the final had Norton not enjoyed a late-season renaissance.
While his first try of the EDF campaign was just one of six in a low-brow fourth round win over Henley, the one he scored against London Welsh in the quarter final was anything but.
Moseley’s brave fightback at Old Deer Park seemed to have counted for nothing until Norton hared up in support of Ollie Thomas’ last-minute break and took the ball all the way to the hosts’ line.
And his contribution to the semi-final upset of Exeter Chiefs was even more important. Two tries in the first 30 minutes, the second after running half the length of the pitch, gave Mose a lead they would never relinquish.
Like no one else Norton deserves to play at a venue that will ring with the burr and rolled Rs of Gloucestermen. “It’ll be pretty quiet back home on Saturday,” he says. “It’s going to be a great day out for the whole town. It’s a fantastic feeling, an occasion I could never have dreamed of happening. Which victory will mean more? I’m not sure.”
The chances of that happening are not quite remote but it has to be said that in the sewing box the yellow, blue and white ribbons are probably on top of the red and black ones.
But like everyone at Billesley Common Norton believes the improbable is possible. Along with the rest of his colleagues he can point to the recent clash between the teams which came down to the final minute and resulted in a respectable 31-26 reverse.
Those events earlier this month give everyone hope that Mose will not be blown away by the league leaders. “We have got to do what we did to them in the second half of that match,” he says.
“We can’t give them free ball, we’ve got to be aggressive at the breakdown to hamper their supply. If, after that we can get our backs into it, we have already showed what we can do.”
Indeed they have.
Where Exeter felt the heat of Norton and Nathan Bressington, Leeds were burned by Norton and his fellow dual registered starlet Henry Trinder. This time it was Trinder who grabbed a brace, although Norton’s score once again demonstrated his outstanding pace as he beat the visitors’ defence to his own chip through.
“I am not saying we are going to win it, just that we shouldn’t be written off.”
And if Norton doesn’t end up with the right medal he needn’t worry too much, he’ll have another chance next Wednesday when Hartpury take on UWIC in the BUCS Rugby Championship final - at Twickenham.