By Dave Fox

Thornbury 36

Devonport Services 12

Thornbury enjoyed a fine win over second-placed Devonport Services through controlled rugby whilst their opponents infringed throughout the game. Three tries in a spectacular first quarter put Thorns on their way to a bonus-point win as Devonport argued almost every decision with the referee, taking their focus away from their defence, and Thorns capitalised. The win extended their unbeaten run to seven games and moved them up to fourth in the table.

Thornbury kicked off downhill and immediately put pressure on the Services’. The Devonians knocked on close to their line and after Thorns attacked from the ensuing scrum Devonport were penalised. They argued with the referee and Jack Pinker kicked a fourth minute penalty.

The ball went loose following an Ollie Maher tackle shortly after the restart and it was quickly moved to Alfie Richardson who bisected the defence before haring down the touchline. The ball was moved infield and Sam Poustie and Mike Gaston found Maher in space and he scored the try. The conversion missed but Thorns had a memorable start and led 8-0.

The lead was extended shortly afterwards when Jake Goodridge burst away and fed Sam Garbett who used his pace to clear the defence and score in the corner. Thorns went further ahead through a Pinker penalty then after the Services’ made their first attacks Thorns roared back into the Devonport half and after the forwards had tried to drive over Mike Gaston ran in for the try. Pinker converted.

Thornbury were unable to add to their score and in last play they were close to driving a maul over. Thorns led 23-0 at the break.

Devonport had a second player sin-binned from the restart of the game for a late tackle. Pinker took play deep into the Services’ ‘22’. They infringed again and Poustie quickly cross-kicked for Mike Johnson to score the bonus point try in the corner. Thorns led 28-0.

Devonport Services then began to show why they were second in the table by playing dynamic rugby. But Thornbury’s defence was well-organised and kept the line intact. As the final quarter began the Services opened their account with a converted try after persistent pressure on the line. Then they scored a second try in the corner with ten minutes left to reduce arrears to 28-12.

The match was put beyond them two minutes after the restart. Thorns attacked and following a good passing movement down the left Jake Wood went over in the corner for Thorns’ fifth try. The conversion went wide. Then in last play Pinker kicked the penalty that heralded the final whistle. Thornbury had won 36-12.

It was a fine win for Thorns in an absorbing game. The Thornbury pack stood up manfully against a much bigger unit and were able to control much of the breakdown with Jake Goodridge having a particularly fine game. The entire three-quarter line scored tries but the sponsors from the Webb family deservedly awarded Tom Ford man of the match.

On Saturday Thornbury have a local derby when they travel to Keynsham.