Western Counties North
Wadebridge Camels 5 Thornbury 17
WEAKENED Thornbury were too strong for a disappointing Wadebridge Camels side, who are staring relegation in the face.
The win makes Thorns’ place in the league for next season a certainty.
Thornbury were without several players who were injured, unavailable or unable to travel but a good mix of youth and experience gave the team an interesting complexion.
Wadebridge kicked off into an icy wind which drove the rain into their faces.
Thorns started well and after a few minutes a Wayne Underwood cross-kick nearly created a try for Rich Bennett.
Wadebridge got back into the game when Thorns Joe Jackson in the sin-bin but the defence held out with try-saving tackles made by Bennett and Ed Sheldon. The Camels had opportunities to score but poor decision making and handling errors let Thorns off the hook.
As the first half drew to a close Chris Rovery came on to make his league debut and made an immediate impact, winning turnover ball at the breakdown.
With the Camels a man short Thorns had a scrum on the home line.
The ball went into midfield, where Dai Matthews cut back for the supporting Jackson to crash over for the opening score.
He converted his try to put Thorns 7-0 ahead, which remained the score at half-time.
Thornbury continued playing with confidence after the break.
After nine minutes Jackson and Sheldon ran back a clearing kick and Bennett made good ground.
Good handling moved the ball across the three-quarters where Matthews straightened sufficiently to create space out wide and Mike Gaston scored in the corner. The conversion missed but Thorns were 12-0 up.
Bennett enjoyed two further runs before Wadebridge took play into Thornbury territory and after concerted pressure were awarded a try.
Thorns hit back shortly afterwards. After several attacks Gaston and Sheldon combined to run back a clearing kick, creating space for Bennett to race in for a superb try.
The conversion missed but Thorns were comfortable at 17-5.
Thorns tried for the fourth try and bonus point but good defence kept them out.
They were never likely to lose and enjoyed a hugely satisfying win.
Every player contributed to a good team performance with Thorns superior in every facet of the game.
Rovery, Sheldon and Chris Till had particularly good games but Bennett was justly awarded man-of-the-match for a fine display in attack and defence.
This Saturday Thornbury will be hosting Bridgwater and Albion, 2.30pm.
Thorns will be determined to obtain revenge for defeat at Bridgwater in November when they let a comfortable half-time lead slip.
Thornbury scorers: Tries – Joe Jackson, Mike Gaston and Rich Bennett; Conversion – Joe Jackson.
The second team's game was called off but the thirds took on Barton Hill seconds, losing 36-24.
This weekend Thornbury seconds are at home to Chosen Hill (2.30pm), whilst the thirds are away at Old Bristolians.
On Sunday the Development XV are at Keynsham, 1pm.