Thornbury 26 Aberavon Harlequins 26
A TRY in last play denied Thornbury victory in a drawn match with Aberavon Quins.
Thornbury began well and had their visitors in trouble in the scrum. After five minutes, possession from a strike against the head was moved quickly to the left then switched back inside for Luke Panting to barge through several tackles and score a fine try between the posts. The first score of the season was converted by Tim Stephens.
Aberavon Quins made the most of an error when Thorns tried to run out of defence and scored a converted try.
A second soft try was conceded five minutes later and Quins were suddenly 14-7 ahead.
Thorns attacked from the restart and a fine move created space for Jack Hussey to crash over in the corner but the referee saw a forward pass and the try was disallowed.
Eventually the pressure led to a second Thornbury try when Steve Allington capitalised on good passing to score in the corner.
It was the Quins who started the second period the better and from pressure on the Thornbury scrum on the home line the ball went loose over the goal line. Tom Head reached out for the ball and seemed to ground it but the visiting flanker followed up and dived on the ball for the try. The conversion put Quins 21-12 up.
Within a few minutes of the start of the third period Ross Baker, who had enjoyed a fine debut with strong runs and good defence, capitalised on a kick behind the Quins defence to score out wide. Stephens converted with an excellent kick to bring the score to 21-19.
Thorns continued to press and a few minutes later Baker cut a fine line to race in for his second try. Stephens converted for a 26-21 lead.
With the game in injury time Quins crashed over in the corner for an equalising try despite protests that the ball wasn’t grounded, but when the conversion missed the game ended as a draw.
Thornbury scorers: Tries - Luke Panting, Steve Allington, Ross Baker (2); conversions - Tim Stephens (3).
A desperately under-strength Thornbury Development XV lost 65-0 to leading Welsh side Aberavon Quins Youth in a curtain-raiser to the first team game. Nevertheless the players will learn from the experience and, as coach Simon Fieldhouse pointed out, they will not play a better side all season.
Thornbury face North Bristol on Thursday. The match has been switched from Almondsbury to Thornbury's ground.