North Petherton 14 Thornbury 22

THORNBURY defied Storm Dennis, a desperately muddy pitch and a powerful pack to secure an outstanding win based on total commitment and dogged defence, writes Dave Fox.

Three tries in a controlled first-half built up an impressive lead which would have been quickly whittled away had they not tackled ferociously or forced North Petherton into making errors.

North Petherton kicked off in the teeth of the storm. The pitch quickly turned into a quagmire. The heavy home scrum was on top but the skill and experience of Jack Hussey behind a retreating scrum secured valuable possession. Sam Poustie controlled the game with accurate kicks into the tramlines and with the home lineout not working and Thorns stealing ball or forcing errors the momentum was quickly with Thornbury.

The opening score came after eight minutes. Poustie hoisted a kick which the home defence failed to deal with. Alfie Richardson chased the ball, kicked it ahead and scored alongside the posts. Jack Pinker converted for a 7-0 lead.

Pethy then put the ball up the jumper and with rolling maul and pick and go phases pressurised just outside the Thornbury ‘22’, but Thornbury’s defence was water-tight. Shortly afterwards Harry Glew was called back for marginal offside when clear.

North Petherton were unable to clear their lines and after Thornbury forced a turnover the forwards pounded the home line with Jay Burley eventually scoring. Pinker’s conversion went wide but Thornbury were now playing with confidence. The kicking of Poustie continued to cause problems and pressure from Louis Osborne at the lineout secured plentiful ball. After thirty minutes a heavy tackle dislodged the ball on halfway and Pinker kicked behind the defence. Glew raced after it, kicked ahead and gathered the ball to run round and score between the posts. Pinker converted, and close to halftime kicked a penalty. Thornbury led 22-0 at halftime.

The home side dominated the second half but didn’t make such good use of the wind as Thornbury had, kicked on fewer occasions and still struggled at the lineout. But their scrum was powerful and Thornbury had to knuckle down to hold them.

Thorns tackled and tackled as virtually the whole second half took place in their territory. But Pethy could not get through. Eventually, Pethy opened their account when their dominant scrum was awarded a late penalty try.

As the game went into injury time Thornbury were camped on their own line but kept their line intact. Then their scrum was shoved backwards over their line and the home No.8 scored. But it was too late. The conversion was the last action and Thorns had won 22-14.

This was a memorable match and one of the most committed performances Thorns have put in recently. The defence was outstanding with the forwards in particular putting in a huge shift, all the more remarkable as several players carried injuries. From a team of committed heroes Louis Osborne had one of his best games in a Thornbury shirt, was a menace in the breakdown and a mighty thorn in the side of the Pethy lineout.

On Saturday, Thornbury are home to Cleve in a re-arranged game. Kick-off 2.30PM.

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