After two fine wins, Thornbury came down to earth with a spectacular bump following a shockingly poor performance at newly-promoted Chew Valley, writes Dave Fox.

Thornbury’s defence was non-existent and the team lacked the intensity to take on a well-drilled and pumped-up side that thoroughly deserved their win.

Thornbury kicked off into a bright sun which Chew used to their advantage with a high clearing kick that was miss-fielded. After Thorns cleared Chew ran the ball back and some poor tackling allowed the right wing to score an unconverted try.

After ten minutes Thorns went ahead in unusual fashion. The forwards embarked on a phase of pick and drive close to the line and worked very hard for Ben Phillips to score. Jack Pinker converted to put Thorns 7-5 ahead.

Chew responded well and again exploited holes in the Thornbury defence, the No.8 eventually skipping through several non-existent tackles to score. Early in the second quarter Chew scored again from a scrum close to the Thornbury line. A fine drive sent Chew backwards but the scrum half ran through a huge hole in the defence to score. The conversion made it 19-7 then Chew secured the try bonus point from a driving lineout.

With things beginning to look desperate Thorns needed a score and James Phillips was held up over the line after Sam Evans had made a break. As the match approached half time Thorns scored a second try in a mirror-image of their first with James Phillips showing great determination to score. Pinker added the extras and with Chew Valley leading 24-14 at half time Thorns were just hanging on.

Thorns played better after the break and although they kept pressure on they still looked sluggish in their attacks. Then on the hour mark Thorns eventually scored. Pinker made a break and a long pass from Sam Poustie found Charlie Squier unmarked out wide and he ran in for the try. The conversion didn’t threaten the posts but at 24-19 Thorns were back in the game.

With ten minutes of normal time remaining Chew put the contest to bed with a try and conversion from the fullback. Then in the last six minutes of the match Chew rubbed salt into Thorns’ wounds with three converted tries for a 52-19 win.

There is little point in criticising the players for such a dreadful performance. They know they never got out of second gear and individually and collectively are far better than this match suggests. The set piece was good until Sam Evans went off but the lack of intensity, physicality and focus was a malaise that spread through most of the side. James Phillips was the pick of the forwards and Jonny Sanderson did well when he came on.

On Saturday, Thorns are home to Newent who will be desperate for a win. The match kicks-off at 3pm.

Thornbury scorers: tries – Ben Phillips, James Phillips, Charlie Squier; conversions – Jack Pinker (2)