GRFU Reserve Leagues Premier Division
Thornbury 2nds 0 Cinderford Stags 29
A SCRATCH Thornbury side went down battling to a Cinderford outfit, who were too organised and disciplined at a wind-swept Chantry.
Thorns struggled to get to grips with a strong visiting eight which dominated the first half although the second half was a far more even encounter.
Although playing into a stiff breeze, Cinderford Stags played with the advantage of the slope and went ahead with a try from a rolling maul.
The conversion went wide but, after a series of powerful scrums, Cinderford finished off a well-worked move for a second try. The conversion put the Forest side 12-0 ahead.
Tom Guzman, playing a game for the first time since March last year, put in several powerful tackles.
Thorns had parity in the lineout but the scrums were in trouble.
Scrummaging uphill was a challenge and the Thornbury unit struggled.
However, the home defence held out and, as the second quarter started, Mike Gaston intercepted and charged upfield on a run that led to nothing.
Instead Cinderford cleared and ten minutes later concerted pressure on the Thornbury line saw a further try.
The conversion missed as did the attempt to add the extras to a try scored on the stroke of half-time. The Stags led 22-0 at the interval.
Thornbury began the second half with great determination and controlled the scrums.
Even though scrum half Tom Head was bizarrely yellow-carded for a crooked feed at a scrum Thorns remained on top.
However, the visiting centre intercepted a pass and, despite appearing well offside, was allowed to run in for their fifth try.
That was converted to put the Stags 29-0 ahead.
Tom Head returned to the play only for Jack Hussey to be carded minutes later for talking to the referee.
Thornbury continued to have territorial advantage but were unable to break through the well-organised Cinderford defence.
Despite their efforts, Thorns couldn’t score and the match ended with a comfortable and well-deserved win for the Stags.
Despite the defeat there were several positives to be taken from the game for Thornbury.
Nick Balman ruled the lineout and Gaston enjoyed some useful runs.
Guzman tackled well in his comeback game whilst George Jackson caught the eye with several excellent carries and some good tackling.
Alfie Richardson and Head worked well as half backs but there were too many handling mistakes, largely due to the unfamiliarity of the personnel in the side and the stiff wind that annoyed both sides.
* Thornbury’s first team game at Sidmouth was called off due to a waterlogged pitch at the south Devon club.
It is hoped to arrange a friendly for the firsts on Saturday, whilst on Sunday the development team are at Cleve (1pm). More details will be on www.thornburyrfc.com