South West One West
Thornbury 10 Hornets 29
THORNBURY were beaten by a well-drilled Hornets side that controlled the game and capitalised on errors to score three late tries.
However, in their first game since January and the first at the rugby club since early December, Thornbury made third-placed Hornets work hard for their win.
Play was ragged at first as both sides made mistakes.
Full back Ed Sheldon pulled off a great tackle to deny his opposite number, then a concerted attack by Hornets ended when they knocked on with the line at their mercy.
Thornbury were more than up to the challenge as Hornets threw everything at them but good tackling and some lethargic passing saw the first quarter close scoreless.
The inevitable score came after half an hour when Thorns were penalised at a scrum on their own line and Hornets crashed over from a quick penalty.
The conversion went wide but from the restart Thorns attacked and Tim Stephens kicked a penalty for a high tackle on Rich Bennett.
There was no further score and Hornets led 5-3 at half-time.
The match restarted with Hornets continuing to dominate, scoring a fine second try by the left wing after 12 minutes.
Trailing 10-3, Thornbury attacked from the restart and put pressure on the Hornets defence.
Then Wayne Underwood looped around Stephens to give Sheldon a metre of space to work his magic in.
He cut inside one defender, then threaded his way through a further three for a magnificent individual try.
Great tries deserve conversions and Stephens didn’t disappoint with an awkward kick from out wide.
The scores were tied at 10-10 as the third quarter ended.
Hornets restarted with renewed vigour and they scored again from an attacking lineout to go 17-10 ahead.
The visitors began to play with confidence and the rustiness of the first half disappeared as they moved the ball wide with accuracy and pace.
Dan Hussey and Sheldon produced further try-saving tackles but Hornets touched down for the bonus point try.
Thorns were desperate to score to be in with a chance of a losing bonus point.
Rob Higgitt was twice held close to the Hornets line then Nick Balman charged for glory but a fine cover tackle prevented a certain try.
Instead, Thorns were turned over in midfield Hornets scored again to win 29-10.
Thornbury were particularly rusty but played with a commitment and determination, which was of the highest order against a good side.
They will have to play considerably better to overcome the challenge of improving Bideford on Saturday at Rockhampton Road, 2.30pm.