By Dave Fox

Three tries in seven second-half minutes saw Thornbury pull away to secure their sixth successive maximum points victory. After a first half absorbing pressure from Keynsham’s hefty side Luke Panting scored either side of half time to herald the try blitz in Thornbury’s first win at Keynsham since October 2010.

The pitch was heavy and the light poor as Thorns, wearing red shirts, kicked off. Keynsham immediately dominated possession and territory and scored a fourth minute converted try from a driving maul.

Keynsham kept the ball tight but Thorns’ discipline in the face of the pressure was good. Whenever Thornbury had possession they tried to move it through their backs and the back three were all involved in penetrating runs through the Keynsham defence –a despairing ankle-tap tackle prevented Sam Garbett from scoring.

As the half progressed Thornbury’s possession increased and with half-an hour gone Thornbury attacked down the right but a pass was intercepted and Keynsham’s left wing raced up the touchline from his own ten metre line. Alfie Richardson showed great speed to cover across and pulled off an outstanding tackle on the line but the home scrumhalf followed up and scored in the corner. A fine conversion put Keynsham 14-0 up.

Jack Pinker opened Thornbury’s account with a penalty from the restart then with the match deep in first half stoppage time Thornbury’s pack rumbled forward and after the backs attacked down the right the ball was moved quickly to the left to Luke Panting who sprinted fifteen metres to score in the corner. The conversion missed and the referee blew for half time with Keynsham leading 14-8.

Three minutes into the second half Ollie Maher stole a Keynsham lineout on their line, Thorns drove the Keynsham pack over for Panting to claim his second try. Pinker converted and Thorns were ahead for the first time 15-14.

Thornbury were playing at a higher tempo than in the first half and after Richardson linked with James Wood Pinker shrugged off a weak tackle and spun out of a second to run in and score between the posts. He converted his try for 22-14.

Shortly after the restart Keynsham attacked down the right but Garbett anticipated perfectly and intercepted a pass and accelerated away, outstripped the defence and scored the bonus point try between the posts. Jack Pinker added the extras for 29-14. Thorns had scored twenty-one points in seven minutes.

Keynsham got themselves together and tightened up their play. But Thornbury were able to snuff out their attacks. Keynsham eventually scored an unconverted try from a diving lineout but as the light deteriorated further the sides cancelled each other out. Thornbury ending winners 29-19.

This was a typically tough match with Keynsham. Thorns had to absorb intense pressure from the Somerset side but had the vision and skills to convert the few chances they had into points. They had been off colour in the first half and although not really at their best throughout the second half they showed what they could do in the third quarter. The win moves Thorns up to second in the table, although the teams behind them have games in hand.

On Saturday Thorns host Lydney for a key top-of-the-table encounter, kick off 2pm.

Scorers: tries –Panting (2), Pinker, Garbett; conversions –Pinker (3); penalty –Pinker.


On Saturday the Second XV battled heroically before going down 49-24 to St Brendan'd Old Boys First XV whilst Thornbury Third XV, a social rugby side, played its first game of the season and enjoyed a 25-12 win over Old Patesians III.

Gazette Series:

On Sunday Thornbury Women's XV played its first home game in two seasons and hammered Supermarine Ladies 55-7, Gemma Tyrrell scoring three tries with Tara Chambers grabbing two tries in her first-ever game of rugby.