Cleve 14 Thornbury 29

Thornbury ran Cleve ragged and came away with maximum points at The Hayfields, writes Dave Fox.

Two tries in five minutes late in the first half eased Thorns away from Cleve and they never looked likely to lose.

The early stages were even then Harry Glew and Alfie Richardson combined down the left and a kick ahead gave Thorns good field position deep in the Cleve ‘22’. Thorns attacked through the forwards but Cleve’s defence was good. Then Sam Poustie cross-kicked to Ben Phillips unmarked out wide but Cleve scrambled across and snuffed out the attack.

Cleve then went ahead with a converted try from a lineout on the Thornbury line.

Richardson was tackled close to the corner from the restart then Billy Cantin and Jak Evans combined to break through but the scoring pass went to ground. Thornbury were playing at a pace Cleve were struggling to deal with but try-scoring opportunities were not being taken.

Thorns tied the score as the second quarter began when after several phases in midfield prop Jay Burley got his hands on the ball 25 metres out and set off in a direct run stepping out of one tackle, swerving past another and fending off a third to score a wonderful try by the posts. Jack Pinker converted and Thorns were dominating territory and possession.

Thornbury took the lead on 34 minutes when they attacked from a scrum. Glew scythed through the defence to score out wide. Four minutes later they scored again when Poustie cross-kicked to Glew who fed back inside to Richardson for the try. Neither was converted and Thorns led 17-7 at half time.

Thorns picked up where they left off in the second half and continued to apply pressure. Richardson ran back a hurried clearing kick, the ball was recycled and a fine cross kick from Poustie was well-taken by Mike Johnson who scored the fourth try and earned Thorns the bonus point. Pinker converted for a 24-7 lead.

With the game in the final quarter Thorns put the game to bed with a second try from set piece. Thornbury attacked from a scrum and Richardson came into the line and had far too much pace for the Cleve defence and scored out wide. Thornbury were 29-7 ahead.

Cleve scored a late penalty try following a high tackle, but Thorns closed the game out for a thoroughly-deserved 29-14 win.

The win was more comfortable than the score suggested, and Thorns should have scored a couple more tries. But it was job done. The forwards held the bigger Cleve pack in the tight and their mobility ensured continuity and regular possession. Thornbury’s backs had time and space to run in and looked sharp. Despite the pace and silky skills of the backs the highlight was the try from Jay Burley which emphasised Thornbury’s style with a memorable score in a fine win.

Thornbury are at home to Newton Abbot next Saturday, kick off 3pm.

Thornbury scorers: tries –Richardson (2), Burley, Glew, Johnson; conversions –Pinker (2)