TWO tries in the last quarter eased Thornbury away from the clutches of tenacious North Dorset in a match of poor quality.
Tries by Jack Hussey and Jak Evans plus the unerring boot of Tim Stephens saw Thorns through a difficult game which was disrupted by late withdrawals and injuries.
Thorns lost three of their front five forwards a few hours before kick-off through injury and sickness. The disruption was evident when at a second-minute scrum Thorns were shoved off the ball by the fired-up visitors. The team’s disruption continued shortly afterwards when influential centre Dai Matthews suffered an ankle injury and was replaced.
Both sides showed a willingness to move the ball at every opportunity but the pitch was heavy and handling became difficult. Thorns were called back for a forward pass when clear on three occasions and when Ollie Fleming gathered a deft Stephens cross-kick and dived over for the try he was dismayed to find he had been caught offside and the try was disallowed.
Evans was close to scoring after a length of the field run and Craig Beyer was tackled inches short but the first half ended without a point being scored.
The second half continued to be punctuated with countless errors from both sides. The deadlock was eventually broken with a Tim Stephens penalty on 61 minutes. Thorns extended the lead four minutes later. Play was taken up to the North Dorset line only for the ball to be ripped away and a wrestle ensued with the ball won back for a second time. Evans then moved it quickly to the left where Thornbury had a two-man overlap and Jack Hussey crashed over in the corner for the try. Stephens converted majestically from the touchline and Thornbury were 10-0 ahead.
Evans prevented a certain try with a fine tackle then Thornbury turned over a North Dorset attack in midfield. Jon Day charged upfield, dummied a defender then raced away and passed to the supporting Wayne Underwood, who took play to the North Dorset line for Evans to crash over for the try. Stephens added the extras and at 17-0 the eminently forgettable game was won.
This was a game Thornbury could very easily have lost, and North Dorset deserved to get something out of it. Jack Hussey had another fine game, and George Jackson and Mike Sander deserve credit, whilst the the man of the match award went to Evans. Once again, he had a fine game both in attack and defence and thoroughly deserved his award.
Next Saturday, Thornbury have a rearranged game at Cullompton where they know they will have to be at their best to overcome the Devon side. There is an early kick-off at 2pm due to the Six Nations.
Thornbury scorers: Tries – Jack Hussey and Jak Evans; Conversions – Tim Stephens (2); Penalty – Tim Stephens.
GRFU Reserve Leagues South One: Cleve 3rds 5 Thornbury 3rds 8
AN EARLY try from Neil Harris and a second-half penalty from skipper Adam Weaver were sufficient to see Thornbury through to a terrific win against the odds. The thirds have won three of their last four matches.
l Thornbury Colts’ National Cup match with Ivybridge has been rescheduled for February 24 at the Devon club’s ground.