Sidmouth 29 Thornbury 10

Thornbury’s four-match winning run came to an abrupt end as their hopes sank in the Sidmouth mud, writes Dave Fox.

After controlling the first half Thornbury were nowhere to be seen after the break as Sidmouth took the match by the scruff of the neck and ran out comfortable winners.

Thorns dominated the opening ten minutes and made several half breaks but good defence and a slippery surface kept them out. Then Sidmouth escaped defensive duties and on their first attack into the Thornbury ‘22’ kicked a penalty.

Thornbury restarted and continued to move the ball about. Six minutes later Jack Pinker and Luke Panting linked to create space and Kieran Sparrow made good ground to five metres out. Then a long pass found Alfie Richardson in space and he dived over to put Thorns ahead. The conversion missed.

Midway through the half Thornbury were penalised and Sidmouth attacked from deep. The right wing hared up the right then the ball was moved across the pitch where the left wing scored a converted try for 10-5.

Thornbury dominated the last fifteen minutes of the half but the pitch conditions were alien to Thornbury’s style of play. With five minute remaining Tom Williams made a good break down the right and a long pass from Sam Poustie found Pinker and he took a tackle as he scored. The conversion missed and the scores were tied 10-10 at half time. Thornbury had looked the better side and should have been comfortably ahead.

Sidmouth took control of the match from the kick-off of the second half and played with an intensity inspired by a new No. 8. They kicked two early penalties. Thorns couldn’t get their hands on the ball, and when they did they played into Sidmouth’s hands by over-complicating moves, kicking the ball away and not protecting the loose ball. The contrast in the two sides from their first half displays was marked. Then a charged down kick gave the initiative to Sidmouth, the replacement No.8 burst clear and the replacement scrum half scored in the corner. Thorns trailed 21-10.

The home pack continued to dominate and the game was put beyond Thornbury when fine handling put the left wing in for his second try with ten minutes to go. Sidmouth led 29-10 and all Thorns could do now was score a couple of tries to earn a bonus point. Twice in the dying minutes Thorns created scoring opportunities only for them to be squandered by a knock-on five metres out. Although Thornbury finished the game on top the match had gone and Sidmouth were comfortable winners.

Thornbury looked like a different side and struggled to control and protect the loose ball in the second half and took many wrong options. The supply of ball, plentiful in the first half, dried up after the break. In the first half Thornbury’s backs looked dangerous whenever they had the ball but there was a paucity of clean possession in the second. Louis Osborne had an outstanding game for Thorns and whilst all his team-mates made positive contributions collectively Thorns were not good enough.

Next Saturday Thornbury are home to second-placed Devonport Services in a re-arranged game, kick off is 2:30.

Thornbury scorers: tries – Alfie Richardson and Jack Pinker