Report by Dave Fox

Thornbury tackled themselves to a hard-fought win over tenacious Crediton extending their unbeaten run to six games. The victory was due to determined defence and clinical finishing with Jack Pinker helping himself to twenty-one points including two first half tries.

Thornbury, wearing red shirts to avoid a colour clash, kicked off into a low winter sun. Crediton controlled early territory and possession but when Thorns got their hands on the ball they ran it and looked dangerous. On their first visit to the home ‘22’ Thorns looked to have scored. Crisp passing from Jake Wood and Alfie Richardson put Mike Gaston into space but his pass out of the tackle to Mike Priday went forward and the try was disallowed. The deadlock was broken on thirteen minutes when Pinker slotted over a penalty.

Crediton continued to dominate possession but in the second quarter Thornbury extended their lead. From good possession Richardson tied up two defenders before Wood burst clear and committed two more defenders then cleverly offloaded to Pinker on halfway and he had far too much pace for the cover. He converted his try for a 10-0 lead.

Crediton kicked a penalty goal then Thorns hit back. After some great continuity from the forwards an outstanding offload from Sam Evans put Pinker clear and he scored between the posts. He added the extras and although they had a player in the sinbin Thorns held out and led 17-3 at the break.

Crediton started the second half in determined fashion, and Thorns had to endure eight minutes on their line defending with fourteen men. They eventually cleared their lines. Two minutes later Thornbury scored again when direct from a scrum Richardson kicked ahead and was too quick for the Crediton defence and scored. Pinker converted. Crediton were far from out of the game and a converted try after a period of pick and go on the Thornbury line was the least they deserved.

Leading 24-10 as the match entered the final quarter Thornbury emptied the bench and within seconds the replacements secured Thornbury the try bonus point. Ollie Maher drew the defence on the home team’s ‘22’ and Sam Garbett ran a great line to burst clear and score between the posts with his first touch of the ball. The conversion made it 31-10 with fifteen minutes remaining.

Crediton raised the intensity of their game even higher but Thornbury’s defence was water-tight. Most of the last period of the game was spent in the Thornbury ‘22’. Crediton were held up over the line at one point then as the match was about to enter stoppage time a crack at last appeared in Thornbury’s defence and the fullback scored an unconverted try close to the final whistle.

Thornbury’s next league match is at home to Devonport Services on January 8th. Covid permitting, there is a charity rugby match at Thornbury on December 28th in aid of PROPS, kick off is midday.

Scorers: tries –Pinker (2), Richardson, Garbett; conversions –Pinker (4); penalty –Pinker.