Bridgwater & Albion 34

Thornbury 19

THORNBURY finished the league season in an entertaining dead-rubber at Bridgwater, writes Dave Fox.

Thornbury played with one eye on the forthcoming cup final, but demonstrated they can run most sides ragged when they play to their strengths, and gave Bridgwater a torrid second quarter before the Somerset side focussed on their goal of securing points to maintain their fourth-place in the table and used their forwards to secure victory in the final quarter.

Thornbury kicked off on a chilly afternoon and after several even moments Bridgwater went ahead. Their ball-retention was good and after good continuity the wing scored an unconverted try out wide.

As the first quarter came to an end they went further ahead from a driving lineout. The conversion opened a 12-0 lead.

Thorns had played within themselves, but from the restart engaged overdrive and played with a pace and tenacity, which saw them tie the scores.

Jake Wood was the first to score, showing deceptive strength and fierce determination to slip out of the grasp of the Bridgwater pack and reach out of a tackle to place the ball on the line for the try. He converted his try to reduce arrears to 12-7.

Thorns then scored a glorious try. The pack took a scrum against the head on half way and Dai Matthews stepped through the defence, passed to Wood who fed Harry Glew running flat out. He was tackled ten metres out but offloaded for Louis Ogilvie to score. The conversion missed but the scores were tied at 12-12.

Thorns were close to scoring again but Bridgwater had the final say with a penalty that put them 15-12 ahead at half time.

Thorns should have gone ahead in the first minute of the second-half when Glew and Wood ripped through the Bridgwater side but as the ball was moved to the right a scoring pass was intercepted close to the home line and Bridgwater cleared.

Shortly afterwards Thorns launched a driving lineout which rumbled diagonally towards the line only for the referee to penalise Thorns and Bridgwater cleared. Shortly afterwards the Somerset side scored another try from a rolling maul to lead 22-12.

Thorns hit back almost immediately when a clearing kick was charged down and gathered by Luke Panting for Sam Poustie to give Matthews the chance to charge through the defence and score his 100th try for the First XV. Wood converted for 22-19.

But the Bridgwater pack kept the ball tight for the rest of the game and they barged over for two further tries, one of which was converted for a 34-19 win.

Bridgwater’s victory was less comfortable than the scoreline suggests and Thornbury deserved to get something out of the game. They finish the league in eleventh place, a significant points margin ahead of the relegated sides below. Thorns can now prepare for the Combination Cup Final with Weston at Dings Crusaders’ ground on April 25.