South West One West
Thornbury 14 Cullompton 18
SELDOM can Thornbury have dominated a game more completely but avoided victory than this thrilling game against Cullompton, writes Dave Fox.
The hosts dominated every facet of the game yet squandered several scoring opportunities and made countless mistakes, which allowed Cullompton to capitalise on the few opportunities they had to win the match.
Thornbury’s preparations were disrupted when three players dropped out before the game, the last being just an hour before kick-off, causing a major reshuffle of the backs.
The match was Jon Day’s last home game after a senior playing career stretching over 25 years and he heads into retirement with a catalogue of heroic deeds and successes over a three-decade career, which saw him rightly acclaimed as one of the greatest players in the club’s history.
Cullompton started the better and went ahead through a sixth minute penalty.
This kick-started Thorns and after Jack Hussey took a quick penalty, Day ran hard to barge his way over for a try. Seldom can there have been a more popular try-scorer.
Joe Jackson converted and Thorns were 7-3 ahead.
Close to half-time, a Cullompton rolling maul rumbled over for a try to put them ahead 8-7.
Thornbury attacked from the outset of the second half but instead Cullompton cleared and some poor defence allowed them to extend their lead with a penalty.
With a few minutes remaining Cullompton burst through a poor tackle and raced upfield and scored a converted try against the run of play to lead 18-7.
As injury time approached Thornbury’s backs began to click at last.
Rob Higgitt made two searing breaks which led to Wayne Underwood scoring by the posts. Jackson converted.
Thorns attacked from the restart and made it to the line but the unfortunate Day couldn’t take the pass with the line at his mercy and the ball was cleared.
Thorns came back again with further waves of attacks. Eventually Underwood put Liam Pemberton through a gap on a great line and was over but the referee spotted a forward pass and the try was disallowed.
Thornbury scorers: Tries - Jon Day, Wayne Underwood; Conversions – Joe Jackson (2).
* Thornbury conclude their home league fixtures on Saturday against Chard, who are seeking a play-off place (3pm).
Thornbury seconds are home to Drybrook in the GRFU Reserve Leagues, 3pm.
* Thornbury Development Squad lost 38-17 to Cleve in the GRFU League final at Clifton.
The players did well to get to the final but can still have success on Sunday when they play Coney Hill in the GRFU Cup Final at Cleve RFC.