South West One West
Coney Hill 29 Thornbury 34
THORNBURY struggled to overcome tenacious and passionate opponents and, although never finding top gear, they secured maximum points in a five-try haul.
Two second half tries from Ed Sheldon consolidated his place as leading try scorer in the league and, with Chard not playing, Thorns moved up to sixth in the table.
Dan Hussey andSheldon combined at the kick-off to take play deep into the Coney Hill 22 and after ten minutes of attacking Tim Stephens kicked a penalty for a 3-0 lead.
The Coney Hill pack took play to the Thornbury line and, after several drives close to the line, crashed over in the corner for a try.
After Thorns made a terrible hash clearing the ball from a scrum on their line, the home back row gratefully dived on the loose ball for a second try.
The conversion extended the lead to 12-3 and after a clearing kick was charged down a few minutes later Coney Hill scored their third try.
The conversion missed but Coney Hill had scored three tries in 13 minutes and Thornbury were staring at defeat, trailing 17-3.
Coney Hill continued their direct running but Thorns kept them out and began get back into the game.
As the match went into first half stoppage time a Thornbury rolling maul rumbled ten metres before it was deliberately collapsed. From a quick penalty Liam Pemberton crashed over for the first Thornbury try. Stephens converted but Coney Hill led 17-10 at half time.
Early in the second half Thornbury were awarded a penalty close to the line. Thorns moved the ball quickly and accurately across the three-quarter line for Sheldon to score in the corner. The conversion narrowly missed but Thorns were back in the game at 17-15.
However, Coney Hill’s pack rumbled over for their bonus-point try shortly afterwards with the conversion putting the Gloucester club 24-15 ahead.
Minutes later Mike Gaston intercepted a Coney Hill attack and ran 30 metres for Thornbury’s third try which Stephens converted.
Then Jack Hussey took a quick penalty in his own 22 and the ball was moved to Sheldon, who sprinted 80 metres to score Thornbury’s bonus-point try. Stephens converted as Thornbury regained the lead at 29-24.
A Dai Matthews try shortly afterwards put Thorns ten points ahead and, although Coney Hill hit back with another forward try, they held on to win.
Thornbury played in fits and starts but this was the third successive league win and they have secured 14 of a possible 15 points in those games.
Liam Pemberton had a fine game for Thornbury and George Jackson was prominent.
Thornbury players and coaches know a significant improvement is required to challenge high-flying North Petherton at home on Saturday (2.30pm).
Thornbury scorers: Tries – Ed Sheldon (2), Liam Pemberton, Mike Gaston, Dai Matthews; Conversions – Tim Stephens (3); Penalty - Tim Stephens.
* Thornbury seconds drew 19-19 at Avonmouth and the thirds lost 24-12 against Whitehall seconds.
• Thornbury Colts were knocked out in the fourth round of the National U18 Cup by defending champions Hornets.
Hornets, who draw on much of Somerset and North Devon for their playing resources, were too strong and won 58-7, but Thornbury never gave up and impressive performances from every player, particularly skipper James Wood and No 8 Jim Massey, meant they earned great credit from the game.
Stuart McWhinnie scored a late consolation try for Thornbury, converted by Sam Jenkins.
On Sunday the Colts play Old Bristolians at home, 1pm.