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Thornbury 21 Okehampton 12

THORNBURY returned to winning ways with a hard-fought win over Okehampton played in rain on a gloomy afternoon. The win sees Thornbury move back to fourth place in the table at the expense of their Devon opponents.

Heavy overnight rain had made the pitch slippery and further rain threatened as Thornbury started the match under heavy clouds in a kind of twilight. The first quarter of the game was stalemate as the match was played almost exclusively between the ten metre lines. Both sides defended well but made mistakes. The first quarter ended with no score.

Then after twenty three minutes good passing created space for Jak Evans to thunder through. After the forwards had driven close to the line Jack Hussey tied up the defence and accurate passing along the three-quarters put Jake Wood in at the corner for a well-worked try. He converted with a fine kick to open up a 7-0 lead.

Although much of the rest of the play returned to the centre of the pitch both sides did venture into the opposition ‘22’. Louis Ogilvie ran hard on two dangerous runs and Evans was again prominent in a dangerous attack down the right but defences prevailed and half time arrived with no further score. As the rain began to intensify the scoreboard showed a 7-0 interval lead for Thornbury. Okehampton started the second half far better as Thorns struggled to get going. After three minutes a kick was run back and a poor tackle allowed the No.8 to charge through and score an unconverted try. They scored a converted try shortly afterwards and Okehampton led 12-7, and had the momentum with them.

Having endured a lethargic third quarter Thornbury dominated the fourth. Evans dived over from a driving lineout but the referee disallowed the try. But Thorns were not to be denied and shortly afterwards shunted the Okehampton pack over their line with the ubiquitous Evans touching down for the try. Wood converted and Thorns regained the lead at 14-12.

Thornbury denied Okehampton decent possession although Okes looked dangerous when they had the ball in hand. With a slender two-point lead always looking vulnerable Thorns twice turned down the chance to go for goal and tried to drive over from lineouts. Good defence kept them out. With the game deep in stoppage time Okehampton attempted a cross kick from a scrum on their own line. The ball fell short of its target, was taken by Sam Poustie who stepped two defenders and scored by the posts. Wood converted and the referee blew for the end of the match.

Thorns had done well to overcome difficult opposition in conditions that were not to their liking. Defensively, backs Rich Bennett and Harry Tarling tackled themselves to a standstill. But this was a forward battle and the pack deserve most of the plaudits. The back row were particularly good and the sponsors, Thornbury Ladies Committee, awarded the Ronnie’s of Thornbury Man of the Match to Jak Evans for an outstanding performance.

Thornbury scorers: tries –Wood, Evans, Poustie; conversions –Wood (3)