Keynsham 20 Thornbury 18

By Dave Fox

A penalty in the last play of the match robbed Thornbury of a win in a tense match which saw the lead change hands several times. Thorns recovered from an indifferent first half for a more controlled second but gifted Keynsham a try and made errors at crucial times before conceding a penalty on their line in the eighth minute of stoppage time.

Thorns kicked off on a dark and gloomy afternoon. The opening stages were close although Keynsham missed a kick at goal before Jack Pinker put Thornbury ahead with a penalty.

Thorns had limited possession but looked dangerous when they chose to run the ball. However they regularly kicked possession away and with indifferent chasing Keynsham had time to counter-attack. They dominated territory and possession and their forwards crashed over for an unconverted try.

Sam Poustie cut through but was penalised for obstruction and Thorns were called back for a forward pass with Dan Hussey clear as Thorns got into the game late in the half. The torrid first half ended with Keynsham leading 5-3.

Thorns regained the lead five minutes into the second half when the ball was moved to the left following a period of pick and go on the Keynsham line. Alfie Richardson was hauled down but James Phillips gathered the ball and crashed through two defenders to score. The conversion missed but Thorns were 8-5 ahead.

Thornbury managed the game far better but Keynsham scored next when after the forwards created space for the left wing to squeeze over. Thorns again surged to deep in Keynsham territory but Hussey lost possession as he dived over for a try. Further drives on the home line created space for the backs but a pass was intercepted and the left wing had just enough pace to score a converted try for a 17-8 lead.

The deficit was reduced four minutes later when Thornbury attacked from a scrum. Hussey broke clear and found Bob Adams who passed inside to Richardson who scored between the posts. Pinker converted for 17-15.

As the match neared the end Keynsham were penalised for a late tackle and Pinker kicked the long-range penalty to regained the lead at 18-17.

With the match in injury time Thorns kicked the ball away rather than keeping the ball in hand. Keynsham attacked the Thornbury line, were awarded a penalty and kicked the goal to win the match 20-18.

This was frustrating. Thornbury could, indeed should have won this game based on their second half performance but made costly errors. Arguably, two of the three tries conceded were “soft” whilst Thorns should have scored more themselves and kicked away the possession they had fought so hard to secure. Thorns looked fitter than Keynsham and the front row of Johnny Heaven, Kieran Wilson and Sam Evans deserve great credit for putting in full-match shifts against a bulky pack. The turn-around from a poor first half was commendable. Flanker Louis Osborne had a good game and James Phillips took his try well. Alfie Richardson’s confidence increased as the game progressed so there are plenty of positives to take from the game, but only one point.

Thornbury travel to Newton Abbot on Saturday where they can expect to defeat the league’s bottom side provided they don’t become complacent.

Thornbury scorers: tries –Phillips, Richardson; conversion –Pinker; penalties –Pinker (2).