LACKLUSTRE Thornbury failed to get out of second gear and came away empty handed from a frustrating game with Wadebridge Camels. Although unlikely to go down, Thornbury are still one point short of retaining their place in South West One West for next season.
The Cornish visitors dominated the early exchanges. Thornbury were on the back-foot and the tackling was erratic, however, they kept their line intact and on their first visit to the opposition half Tim Stephens opened the scoring with a penalty.
Undaunted, the confident Camels returned to the attack and three missed tackles opened the way for a converted try in the corner. Five minutes later another missed tackle let the visiting backs loose and their hooker scored. The try was converted and when a penalty was kicked minutes later Thornbury were looking at a significant deficit, trailing 17-3.
As the match went into first-half injury time Rob Higgitt exploited space from a quick penalty and fed Simon Weaver. He dummied the Wadebridge defence and scored a try in the corner. Stephens converted from the touchline and Thorns were only 17-10 behind at half-time.
In the first minute of the second half the Thornbury scrum disrupted Wadebridge and Stephens reduced the deficit to four points with a penalty. This gave Thornbury renewed confidence. Wadebridge were on the rack but defended well. Dan Hussey was twice called back for forward passes when clear, handling was erratic and when Jak Evans capitalised on good play by Liam Pemberton and Ollie Fleming what would have been the scoring pass to Hussey didn’t go to hand and the chance was lost. Completely against the run of play Wadebridge escaped from defence and scored a converted try to put them 24-13 ahead. With five minutes remaining Thornbury scored when Stephens kicked into space for Hussey to gather and crash through a tackle for a try between the posts. Stephens converted and it was game on at 24-20.
Sensing victory, and with a losing bonus point in hand, Thornbury went for the win but didn’t keep the ball in hand. Wadebridge ran back and took play deep into Thornbury territory and after a scrum on the home line the Camels scrambled their fourth try, which denied Thorns the losing bonus point.
Thornbury scorers: tries - Simon Weaver, Dan Hussey; conversions - Tim Stephens (2); penalties - Tim Stephens (2).
* Thornbury 3rds defeated BAC 2nds 58-0 in the GRFU Reserve League South Two, scoring ten tries.
* North Bristol 2nds beat Thornbury 2nds 28-5 in a friendly.
Matt Bowden, Richard Foale, Dan Purdy, Max Sheppard scored North’s tries, all converted by Alex Hayle.
Rich Bennett scored an unconverted try for Thornbury.