Rugby: Thornbury sunk by Bridgwater in thrilling clash

Gazette Series: SCORE: Dan Hussey dives in for Thornbury's second try at Bridgwater and Albion SCORE: Dan Hussey dives in for Thornbury's second try at Bridgwater and Albion

South West One West

Bridgwater & Albion 45 Thornbury 33

THORNBURY failed to convert a healthy half-time lead into victory as they let Bridgwater into the game and shipped 35 second-half points.

However, Thornbury played some excellent rugby in a thrilling game and earned a bonus point from four terrific tries.

On a glorious afternoon Thornbury began well but a poor pass allowed Bridgwater to take play into Thorns’ 22 which led to an unconverted try.

Ollie Fleming combined with Dan Hussey down the left before play switched to the right and Rich Bennett created space for Ed Sheldon to weave past four defenders for a terrific try which tied the scores.

Thornbury controlled the game and dominated possession and territory. They attacked constantly but Bridgwater held out through good defence.

A Tim Stephens penalty put Thorns 8-5 ahead and their tails were up.

Then, after breaking through the home defence, Dai Matthews lost the ball in the act of scoring.

Minutes later Sheldon raced out of defence and the ball was accurately passed along the three-quarter line to Dan Hussey in space. He slipped past the first defender then out-paced the cover to score close to the posts. Stephens converted to make it 15-5.

The lead was reduced directly from the restart as Bridgwater scored a second try but a Stephens penalty with the last play saw Thorns lead 18-10 at the break.

A fired-up Bridgwater side started the second half whilst Thorns seemed cold and lethargic.

Within three minutes Thorns conceded a converted try from a rolling maul to reduce the lead to a point.

Shortly afterwards Stephens kicked another penalty to make it 21-17.

However, Thornbury struggled to get their hands on the ball and conceded a fourth try from a scum on their line.

From the restart Thornbury attacked from a scrum in midfield and Matthews blasted through two tackles for a converted try which restored Thornbury’s lead. Bridgwater scored two further forward tries to open up a 38-28 lead with six minutes of normal time remaining.

Thornbury threw everything into attack but a pass was intercepted and the home wing raced the length of the field for another converted try.

With great urgency, Thornbury restarted and once more Matthews exploited a gap in the Bridgwater defence to score a try for the last score of the game. Not for the first time this season Thornbury have struggled to get going after the half-time interval. They are losing games they should win which they cannot afford to do indefinitely.

This Saturday’s home game with Camborne (2.30pm) is another difficult match and marks the half-way point in the league season.

Thornbury scorers: Tries – Dai Matthews (2), Ed Sheldon, Dan Hussey; Conversions - Tim Stephens (2); Penalties - Tim Stephens (3).

*Thornbury seconds lost 24-20 in the dying minutes to Old Bristolians

The Colts defeated Cheltenham Saracens 31-14.

*Thornbury’s Combination Cup match with Avonmouth Old Boys has been rescheduled for December 17 (7.30pm) at Avonmouth.

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