South West One West
Thornbury 13 Bideford 41
INDIFFERENT Thornbury never got going and came unstuck to a highly-motivated Bideford side with everything to play for.
The visitors’ forwards controlled the game and half-chances were exploited with clinical efficiency whilst Thornbury struggled to rise to the challenge and were ultimately well-beaten by a far-better side that thoroughly deserved their win.
Thornbury began well. Mike Gaston and Jon Day were both tackled a few centimetres from the line and when Bideford infringed at a ruck Tim Stephens opened the scoring with a penalty.
However, with ten minutes gone the initiative visibly swung to Bideford.
Thorns’ defence was able to deal with the attacks but they were unable to get their hands on the ball.
Midway through the half Bideford drove over for an unconverted try.
Their forwards scored a second a few minutes later, then former Thornbury player Sam Olde capitalised on some clumsy passing and he raced in for a third try between the posts. Two conversions saw Bideford lead 19-3.
Dan and Jack Hussey started a move on the Bideford 22 and Gaston crashed over in the corner, but the referee decided he was held up and disallowed the try. On the stroke of half-time Bideford scored another converted try.
From the restart Dai Matthews and Dan Hussey gave Ed Sheldon a chance to run but he was hauled down five metres short. Bideford led 26-3 at half-time.
Thornbury began the second half at top speed but it was Bideford who scored first with a penalty.
The hosts attacked again but an inside pass from Gaston was intercepted, preventing a score, then Sheldon was clear with nobody in front of him only to be denied by a forward pass.
After 15 minutes Stephens robbed a Bideford player and sprinted 25 metres for a try.
The conversion missed but at last there was something for the home supporters to cheer.
Matthews was stopped on five metres, then the tackled Sheldon stretched for the line but the ball hit the ground just short.
Thorns were luckless, but then the ball was moved quickly across a line of forwards for Luke Workman to score a second unconverted try.
The remaining minutes saw desperate attacking from Thornbury and organised defence from Bideford, who turned over a counter attack to score a further try and put the result beyond doubt.
In injury time Olde scored a sixth try.
The fine form Thornbury had enjoyed in January, which had seen them secure 15 out of 20 points and take St Austell’s ground record seemed light years away. It was a seriously bad day at the office.
Thornbury scorers: Tries – Tim Stephens, Luke Workman; Penalty – Tim Stephens.
* Thornbury seconds had their home game with Old Centralians cancelled at 1.15pm when the opposition cried off.
This Sunday Thornbury play The Bristol Combination in the final event of Thornbury’s Jubilee Celebrations.
The afternoon starts at midday with a curtain-raiser involving Thornbury and Cleve under-10s followed by the main match, kicking off at 1.30pm.