Devonport Services 27 Thornbury 15

Thornbury lost a tough encounter with Devonport Services which saw the Devon side ease ahead of Thorns at the top of the table on points difference, writes Dave Fox.

Yet there was no disgrace as Thorns battled well against a physically bigger and more mature side.

With heavy rain forcing the game to be played on a neighbouring artificial pitch Thorns got the game underway. After ten minutes of even play Thornbury drove from a lineout then the Services were penalised and Bob Adams kicked a penalty for a 3-0 lead.

From the restart the Services took play into Thornbury territory. Thorns repelled relentless attacks on their line for eight minutes before their influential outside half slipped through for a try which he converted, then added a penalty for a 10-3 lead.

The scores were tied late in the half when following a lineout and drive in the Services’ ‘22’ Sam Poustie cross-kicked for Dan Hussey who leapt high to acrobatically gathered the ball and pass to Alfie Richardson who scored in the corner. Jack Pinker converted for 10-10.

Thornbury returned to the attack but lost possession five metres from the Devonport line. The Devonians counter-attacked and the left wing finished off a fine try. The conversion heralded the halftime whistle with the Services leading 17-10.

Thorns began the second half the better and Harry Glew and Louis Osborne were close to scoring as Thorns dominated. The Services weathered the storm and extended the lead with a penalty then their forwards rumbled twenty metres for a further converted try and leading 27-10 the match appeared in the bag for the home side. Thorns were unable to capitalise on a fine break by Richardson then Hussey was close to scoring and Pinker broke clear and kicked over the defence but the defence cleared. Then after the Services’ scrumhalf got away with a knock on in front of his posts Poustie was called back following a knock-on. Minutes later Poustie put Glew through but the pass was adjudged forward.

As the match went into stoppage time Pinker kicked diagonally behind the advancing defence and Hussey dived on the ball for the try. The hurried conversion missed as Thornbury had last play to manage to score a try to give them a losing bonus point. But Thorns were penalised and successfully defended a lineout on their line but Devonport Services won 27-15.

This had been a fine, tense game in which Thorns had played well at times, and dominated the third quarter of the game, but were unable to convert their opportunities into points. Devonport Services on the other hand probably had fewer chances but converted all bar the final opportunity. Thornbury gave Devonport a serious game with some ferocious close and wide attacks which defied the rain and it was only their well-organised defence that kept Thorns out.

There were fine performances throughout the side but there can be no complaints about the result and Devonport Services may not have a tougher home game this season.

Thornbury play Sidmouth at home on Saturday. The match kicks off at 2:30.

Thornbury scorers: tries –Richardson and Hussey; conversion –Pinker; penalty –Adams