Newton Abbot 19 Thornbury 38

Thornbury deserved their maximum points win, but were made to fight all the way by a stubborn side fighting for survival, writes Dave Fox.

Sometimes Thornbury struggle to put away teams that they should defeat and in this game Thorns should have scored several more tries in a dominant first half. However, two tries from Alfie Richardson in three minutes in the first quarter gave them a commanding lead that was never threatened.

The pitch survived an inspection and although heavy was eminently playable. Thorns kicked off and from a lineout Stu McWhinnie charged through and carried three defenders with him on a thirty-metre drive. Kieran Wilson made good ground and play was taken to the Newton Abbot line where Jack Pinker sharply picked up the ball and placed it over the line for a fourth minute try. He was unable to convert but Thorns had made a bright start.

The home outside half, cousin of Thorns’ Sam Poustie, cross kick behind the Thornbury defence and the wing scored in the corner to tie the scores at 5-5. Thorns then began to crank things up and their pace and movement began to give the Newton Abbot defence nightmares. As the first quarter drew to a close Ben Marlow made a fine break, Sam Evans drove on then the ball was moved to Alfie Richardson who scored. Pinker converted for a 12-5 lead.

Thorns scored again three minutes later. Billy Cantin secured a turnover before Marlow broke through and charged into the ‘22’ to put Richardson in by the corner flag. Thorns led 17-5.

Shortly afterwards Dan Hussey caught a box kick and raced clear but pulled a leg muscle was caught a few centimetres short and had to be replaced. A minute later Jack Hussey picked up from a scrum on the home line, McWhinnie was brought down just short and the ubiquitous Marlow dived over between the posts. Pinker added the extras for a 24-5 lead.

Thorns threatened to cut loose and began to pose the question of how many tries would they score. Billy Cantin, Bob Adams, Louis Osborne and James Phillips were all close but at half-time Thorns led 24-5.

Thornbury looked as though they had scored a fifth try just two minutes into the second half when Jonny Sanderson had a try disallowed. Instead Newton Abbot charged down a clearing kick and scored a converted try to reduce arrears to 24-12.

However, Richardson and Poustie combined for Chris Moseley to drive to the line and after the ball was recycled Moseley reach over to score. Pinker converted for 31-12.

Once again Newton Abbot came back with a converted try from their front row but Thorns eased supporters’ nerves when from a scrum on the Newton Abbot line Hussey picked up and ran around two defenders for the try. Pinker’s conversion made it 38-19. The final few minutes were spent in the Thornbury ‘22’ but Thorns held out for victory.

Thornbury were outstanding in the first half but were unable to convert good opportunities into points. However Alfie Richardson was dangerous with ball in hand and Chris Moseley carried and tackled well whilst Ben Marlow was outstanding, scoring a try and being involved in two more.

Thornbury are home to Crediton next Saturday. Kick-off, 2.30pm.

Thornbury scorers: tries –Pinker, Richardson (2), Marlow, Moseley, Hussey; conversions –Pinker (4).