Thornbury 30 Devizes 22

ED SHELDON scored three tries as Thornbury overcame Devizes in a trial game which provided valuable preparation for next weekend’s opening league fixtures.

Although denied the services of several players attending a wedding, Thornbury showed there was cause for optimism as players put their hands up for selection for the opening league game on Saturday.

Thornbury hit the ground running and after only two minutes when they attacked from a lineout and Wayne Underwood and Dai Matthews combined for Ed Sheldon to race in at the corner. The conversion missed.

Sheldon and Underwood combined again from the restart but were unable to score.

However, Devizes were caught offside and Joe Jackson kicked a penalty for an 8-0 lead.

Devizes got into the game with a penalty then, with a player in the sin bin, fell further behind when Luke Panting scored the second Thornbury try following a rolling maul. The conversion missed but Thorns were 13-3 ahead.

A Thornbury clearance was run back by the Devizes full back who gathered his own kick ahead to put the right wing in for an unconverted try to reduce the deficit.

Thorns attacked whenever they had the ball and Ed Sheldon joined the line shortly after the restart.

He gathered a pass from his ankles and raced upfield, beating four men on a fine run. He was caught ten metres out but found Dan Hussey, who scored the third try.

Then from a scrum a few minutes later George Jackson fed Underwood, who put Sheldon into space and he out-paced the cover to score his second try. Jackson converted to open up a 25-8 lead at half-time.

Sheldon completed his hat-trick 15 minutes into the second half, showing great determination as he drove through three tackles to ground the ball on the line. Leading 30-8, Thornbury began to bring on their replacements.

Devizes got back into the game and when a rolling maul was pulled down the referee awarded a penalty try. The conversion made the score 30-15.

The game became scrappy and Thorns allowed Devizes to control the last quarter of the game.

As the game neared its conclusion they reduced the arrears with a converted 60-metre counter-attack try.

They threatened to score again but Thornbury’s defence was sound and there was no further score with Thorns winning 30-22.

Bideford travel to Thornbury next Saturday for the opening league game of the season, 3pm.

Thornbury scorers: Tries - Ed Sheldon (3), Luke Panting and Dan Hussey; Conversion - Joe Jackson; Penalty - Joe Jackson.