Rugby: Thornbury star Stephens holds nerve to secure draw

Gazette Series: Jack Hussey runs in for Thornbury’s bonus-point try Jack Hussey runs in for Thornbury’s bonus-point try

South West One West

Thornbury 38 Camborne 38

A DAI Matthews try converted by Tim Stephens with the last play earned Thornbury a deserved draw in a magnificent game of committed rugby.

Thornbury fought back from 26-10 behind to go ahead with three tries in nine minutes in a match where the lead changed hands four times and was tied three times as both sides played positive and open rugby.

For the neutral or casual spectator this was a wonderful illustration of the beauty and theatre of rugby football.

Thornbury started well and from a seventh-minute lineout Liam Pemberton crashed over for a try. Stephens converted for a 7-0 lead.

However, Camborne scored a pushover try to tie the scores.

Ed Sheldon saved a certain try before Thornbury returned to the Camborne 22 and a Stephens penalty put them 10-7 ahead.

Thornbury continued to dominate play and Mike Gaston was almost in at the corner.

As the match approached half-time Thorns attacked once more but a long pass was intercepted by the Camborne wing who raced 80 metres for a try against the run of play. The conversion put Camborne 14-10 ahead at the break.

Camborne went further ahead, running back a poor clearing kick for the try two minutes after the restart.

Things got worse for Thornbury a few minutes later when a missed tackle gave a visiting centre a simple try and a 26-10 lead.

But Thorns scored from the restart when George Jackson followed-up a kick behind the Camborne defence for their second try, which Stephens converted. Thornbury raised their intensity and orthodox passing from a scrum was turned into a score when Matthews bisected the Camborne centres to score a converted try.

Then from a lineout on the Camborne line Jack Hussey crossed unopposed for the bonus point try which also regained the lead. Stephens converted for 31-26.

However, Camborne hit back with another try that tied the scores again at 31-31, then the visiting forwards drove over for a further converted try for 38-31 with eight minutes of normal time remaining.

Thornbury spent the remainder of the game attacking and, after Rob Higgitt burst through, Matthews came up at pace and crashed through for the last try. Stephens held his nerve to convert.

It had been a great game between two sides that made the most of the scoring opportunities they had.

Thornbury’s forwards deserve tremendous credit to edge a much bigger unit.

The pack included two schoolboys at the end of the match.

Dai Matthews was awarded man of the match. However, all 36 players deserve credit for contributing to an excellent game.

This Saturday Thornbury travel to table-topping Cleve, 2.30pm.

Thornbury scorers: Tries - Dai Matthews (2), Liam Pemberton, George Jackson, Jack Hussey; Conversions - Tim Stephens (5); Penalty - Tim Stephens

Thornbury’s Bristol Combination Cup Quarter-Final takes place at Avonmouth on Tuesday, December 17, 7:30pm.

The seconds lost 16-10 at Chosen Hill.

* Thornbury lost 34-5 to Chippenham in the semi-final of the Bristol Combination U14s Cup.

Thornbury Colts drew 22-22 at St Brendan’s Old Boys.

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