South West One West: Sidmouth 43 Thornbury 26
11:10am Thursday 7th March 2013 in Thornbury Sport
ANOTHER slow start saw Thornbury concede 35 points in the opening 24 minutes before eventually getting into the game.
Nevertheless, determined play in the remainder of the match saw them salvage a try bonus point, but the mountain they had left themselves was too high to climb for a victory.
Sidmouth showed their desire to win from the kick-off, playing at a higher intensity to Thorns, and went ahead after two minutes when the home flanker capitalised on loose ball to race 50 metres for the try.
Six minutes later the other flanker exploited some weak tackling to score. With conversions Sidmouth led 14-0. The third try came shortly afterwards when Thorns failed to clear the ball close to their line, then they conceded a fourth try when a centre burst through on a direct run.
Things got even worse three minutes later when the Sidmouth flanker brushed aside three poor tackles and scored another try. The conversion put Sidmouth 35-0 ahead.
To their eternal credit Thornbury suddenly woke up and began to play rugby. Kevin Rudrum led the way with some good carries but the Sidmouth defence was as committed as their attack and Thorns were kept out.
Eventually, Thornbury were able to score when Ollie Fleming came in off his wing and split the defence for a well-worked try by the posts. Tim Stephens converted to make it 35-7.
As the first half went into injury time Thornbury were awarded a penalty try as Sidmouth interfered with the scrum that was rumbling over the line. Stephens converted but Sidmouth went into the break leading 35-14.
There was greater focus to Thornbury’s play after the interval but a Sidmouth counter-attack resulted in another try. The conversion missed but a penalty minutes later gave them a 43-14 lead.
However, Thornbury were well on top and attacked through forwards and backs. Several chances were nullified by good defence and some wrong options but Simon Weaver, Wayne Underwood, Ed Sheldon and Jon Day were each inches short of scoring.
Then Sheldon and Evans combined well to create panic in the Sidmouth defence. A quickly-taken penalty and a deft pass from Underwood saw Day barge over for the third Thornbury try. Stephens converted for 43-21.
With time running out another quickly-taken penalty deep in the Sidmouth 22 enabled Rob Higgitt to run in for the bonus point try. The conversion missed and despite further attacking they were unable to add to the score.
The game was effectively over before Thornbury began to play but from that point they were on top. However, the team must start matches better. Rudrum was the pick of the forwards whilst Sheldon had an excellent game in attack, but Thorns made too many mistakes against committed opposition.
Thornbury scorers: Tries – Ollie Fleming, Jon Day, Rob Higgitt and a penalty try; Conversions – Tim Stephens (3).
This Saturday Thornbury take on another Devon side when Paignton visit Thornbury, 2:30pm.