Thornbury 30 Newent 20

A greatly-improved performance from Thornbury saw them return to winning ways with a hard-fought win over a tough Newent side, writes Dave Fox.

Thorns began and finished the better in a game dominated by committed and aggressive defences that battered the attacking sides in an absorbing, tense and thrilling game.

Thornbury kicked off downhill and immediately played with more intensity than they had in their last game. Within two minutes Jay Burley burst through the Newent defence, fed Jak Evans who drew the cover but his scoring pass went down with the line at their mercy. Shortly after Thorns had attacked through a driving lineout the forwards drove skipper Sam Evans to score the try. Bob Adams converted for an early lead.

It looked as though Thorns would score again as they gave the ball width but the Newent defence forced handling errors and Thornbury couldn’t add to their score. Instead Newent kicked a penalty. Shortly after the restart Ben Phillips was close to scoring and as the first quarter came to a close Thorns reflected on how dominant they had been but their 7-3 lead looked fragile. When Newent took control in the second quarter only outstanding defence from Thornbury kept their line intact. Outstanding and committed defence kept Newent out and maintained their 7-3 lead at half time.

Ten minutes into the second half Adams extended the lead with a penalty but Newent tied the score with a converted try. Then from a scrum Thorns attacked and Alfie Richardson combined with Harry Glew to create space for Adams to score in the corner. The conversion narrowly missed but Thorns were back ahead at 15-10.

Newent kicked a penalty and Burley had a try disallowed as the match entered the final quarter but Thorns were now playing open and expansive rugby with more space to operate in. Thorns’ back three were causing problems then Thornbury attacked from a lineout and a chip from Billy Cantin was taken by Jack Pinker to score close to the posts. Adams converted to put Thorns 22-13 ahead. He added a penalty and Thorns led 25-13 as 80 minutes came up.

Two minutes into added time Thorns attacked and after Sam Poustie slipped out of a tackle Pinker put Richardson in at the corner. Thorns were now out of sight at 30-13.

There was time for the match to restart and Newent scored a converted try. Eventually after seventeen minutes of added time the whistle went with Thorns 30-20 victors.

This was as hard a game as one could imagine. The tackling from both sides was brutal at times as the defences kept their lines intact. Thornbury’s pack had the edge in the tight and the scrum went well. Newent seemed to tire late on when more space was available and Thorns scored their late tries. There were excellent contributions from all players. Billy Cantin was awarded player of the game.

Thornbury play Cleve next, with the game scheduled for Friday evening at Mangotsfield, kick off 7:45.

Thornbury scorers: tries – Sam Evans, Adams, Pinker, Richardson; conversions –Adams (2); penalties –Adams (2)