Launceston 34

Thornbury 31

WITH Launceston desperately seeking maximum points to guarantee a top-two finish, few gave Thornbury much hope, yet Thornbury could well have won the game, writes Dave Fox.

Thornbury kept the ball away from the powerful Cornish forwards and played with an exuberance that saw them run in five tries, but with a sixth disallowed and two near-misses the players could feel this was one that got away, yet they did remarkably well to be in the game at the death.

Thornbury kicked-off and set about giving the ball air and width from the outset. After ninety seconds Thorns surged down the left where Sam Poustie put Alfie Richardson into space where he fed Dan Hussey who went in for the try, but the referee adjudged the scoring pass forward and disallowed the try.

Launceston scored from a lineout with their first scoring opportunity and went further ahead to lead 8-0 from a penalty close to the half hour. Thorns then conceded a penalty try and leading 15-0 the Cornishmen were well on their way.

But Thornbury were undaunted and a many-phase move ended when Tom Williams charged to the line and passed to Harry Glew who drove through two tackles for the try. Jake Wood converted to reduce arrears to 15-7.

Launceston scored a push-over try late in the half but Richardson ran back a clearing kick, chipped over the defence, gathered his kick and sped outside the cover to score a fine individual try. The conversion missed but Thorns were back in the game trailing 22-12 at half-time.

Thornbury started the second-half in similar fashion to the first and after a minute Poustie switched play and Wood swerved through the defence to score a fine try. He was unable to convert but the score was now 22-17 in favour of a visibly-nervous Launceston.

Launceston scored their fourth try shortly afterwards but Thorns were moving the ball well and the Poustie-Wood duo was keeping the Launceston defence on its toes. Early in the final quarter Thorns secured reward for their efforts with a fourth try bonus point. Wood again cut through and Chris Moseley charged on before passing to Glew who sprinted in for his second try. Wood converted and reduced the deficit to 27-24.

As the game see-sawed Launceston scored again from a scrum on Thorns’ line for 34-24. But Thorns were not out of it and as the match entered stoppage time they scored again when Sam Evans was driven over from a driving lineout. Wood converted for 34-31. There was no time for further scoring and as the referee blew for the end of the match there was an enormous sigh of relief around the ground from the Launceston players and supporters. Thornbury had given them the fright of their lives.

This was an magnificent performance by Thornbury, only surpassed by their humbling of St Ives a month before. Every Thornbury player was outstanding with both Jake Wood and Sam Poustie giving the Launceston defence nightmares for some time. This was a performance every player should take great credit for and be immensely proud of.

Thornbury’s league season ends on Saturday at Bridgwater 3pm.