Yate 25

Thornbury 3rds 25

YATE and Thornbury thirds shared the top-of-the-table spoils in a compelling draw, writes Mark Summerville.

The late cancellation of Thornbury seconds game allowed a stronger than expected team to give the league leaders a hard challenge.

Thornbury started strongly however the first try went to Yate when Craig Archer intercepted a pass near his own 10 metre-line and sprinted away from the defence. A conversion by James Cannon gave Yate a seven-point lead. Thornbury’s strong and organised pack were looking dominate in the set pieces and they spent the next 20 minutes camped in Yate’s half only to see the final pass not go to hand or a try saving tackle be made by a Yate player when the line was in sight.

When chances came to ease pressure from penalties the usual reliable Cannon was not finding touch and the ball kept being ran back at the Yate defence. From one of Yate’s very little periods of possession in Thornbury’s half a penalty award for a high tackle allowed James Cannon to extend the lead to 10 points. The match continued with more Thornbury pressure and eventually it took its toll and from a penalty advantage at a scrum, on Yate’s five metre line, a pick-up at 8 brought Thornbury’s first points. A missed conversion saw the score at 10 points to 5.

From the restart Yate responded immediately when Thornbury failed to gather the kick and from the resulting ruck the ball was quickly moved down the line to put Kurtis Moreton with a one-on-one with his opposite number which he did not pass up. The missed conversion was the end of a hectic first half and saw Yate lead at the break 15 points to 5.

The second half started the same as much of the first half with Thornbury putting pressure on Yate and from one attack close to the line Craig Archer attempted another intercept only to knock on and the official to produce a yellow card. From the resulting penalty Thornbury used the same tactic as their first try and with again a penalty advantage at the scrum the 8 picked up again but this time popped out to the scrum half who went in. An easy conversion and with a man advantage Thornbury were on the up despite being 15 points to 12 down. The next try again went to Thornbury and for the first time in over an hour of play they managed to get around the solid Yate back line defence. A difficult conversion was slotted over and Thornbury took the lead for the first time 15 points to 19. With Yate back up to 15 players they again responded and started to get some time near Thornbury’s 22. From a scrum the ball was put down the back line where Evan Demonick went through a gap to score, A conversion by James Cannon saw Yate retake the lead 22 points to 19. Thornbury then responded and when a penalty was awarded for offside instead of going for a line out opted to kick for post to draw level. After another series of attacks by Thornbury they again were awarded a kickable penalty and they took the opportunity to go ahead with minutes on the clock. Yate then threw everything to try and get back into the game and when they were awarded a kick about 35 meters out in front of the post skipper Neil Olive told James Cannon ‘if you think you can get it go for it, I back you’. He sent it straight through the middle to draw level 25 points all on what turned out to be the last play of the game.