Alfie Richardson scored four tries as Thornbury ripped sorry North Petherton to shreds in a surprisingly one-sided contest. Thorns scored nine tries, six in a spectacular second half, playing fast and loose rugby with forwards and backs running confidently and linking superbly whilst not giving North Petherton an inch to play in.

Despite constant drizzle and a vicious cross-wind Thornbury ignored the conditions and moved the ball through the hand from the start. After James Wood drove through the defence Chris Perrett and Jack Pickles put Mike Priday in for a sixth minute try. Jack Pinker converted.

After North Petherton had enjoyed their best period of the game a powerful counter-ruck in Thorns’ ‘22’ secured a valuable turnover. The ball was moved to Alfie Richardson on half way. He cut through the defence and sprinted in for the try. Pinker’s conversion made it 14-0.

Thorns were taking control in the loose. Another try seemed likely but Thorns were guilty of squandering try-scoring chances. Then Jak Evans showed good determination to get behind the first line of defence. Luke Panting surged on to five metres out and a long pass found Richardson in space and he scored in the corner. Pinker’s remarkable touchline conversion into the wind heralded the half-time whistle with Thorns 21-0 ahead.

Thornbury restarted the match and had the try bonus point in the bag after two minutes. Perrett made a break and after the ball was recycled Wood crashed over for the score. The conversion narrowly missed but three minutes later Thorns scored again. Attacking from the restart with pace and control, Ollie Maher and Panting made good ground then Evans took the ball on and another accurate pass put Richardson in for his hat-trick try. Pinker added the extras for 33-0.

North Petherton were in danger of the floodgates opening. Another fine run from Maher ripped the defence apart and Jake Goodridge was tackled just a few metres short. But on 52 minutes Thorns scored again. A great drive from the forwards from a lineout twenty metres out took play to the line, then Jack Hussey and Pinker combined to put Pickles in for the sixth try. The conversion hit the post but Thorns were 38-0 ahead.

Early in the final quarter Richardson completed his scoring with a fourth try. The forwards rumbled from a lineout in the North Petherton ‘22’ before Sam Evans burst away and fed Richardson who scored. North Petherton then scored after a period of pick and go on the Thornbury line but Thorns were well-clear at 43-5.

In the dying moments Pinker stepped through some weak tackling for a try he converted, then in last play Panting peeled around the front of a lineout to score in the corner. The conversion missed but Thorns had won 55-5.

Few would have predicted such a scoreline before the game. Thornbury turned up but unfortunately North Petherton didn’t. However, every Thornbury player contributed to a fine all-round performance. The ubiquitous Ollie Maher had a particularly fine game. Jak Evans delivered his best performance of the season and Jack Pinker scored another fifteen points haul. But it was not surprising that the match sponsors from the Anchor Inn, Oldbury, awarded Man of the Match to Alfie Richardson for an outstanding performance and four memorable tries.

On Saturday Thorns travel to Old Patesians, kick off 2pm.

Scorers: tries –Richardson (4), Priday, Wood, Pickles, Pinker and Panting; conversions –Pinker (5).

Thornbury Ladies' match with Fairford was called off due to Covid but it is hoped the match will be played this coming Friday under floodlights at Cheltenham Tigers RFC. Kick off is 7.45pm.