Thornbury defied horrendous conditions to cast aside the challenge of Old Patesians with wing Mike Priday scoring a first-half hat-trick of tries. Five first-half tries had the game won with three more uphill in the second to underline Thornbury’s superiority as they powered to their first league win over Old Pats.

The pitch had been declared playable before a torrential late-morning storm. When Thorns arrived the pitch was heavily waterlogged and with no sign of the rain abating the match seemed in doubt. Then the clouds blew away and a team of volunteers cleared the standing water and the game was on.

Thornbury kicked off downhill and set about scoring before the pitch deteriorated further. After ten minutes Thorns drove over from a lineout, the backs joined the maul and Priday came up with the ball. Jack Pinker converted for a 7-0 lead.

Old Pats surged into the attack but Thorns kept their discipline and turned defence into attack and scored a second try shortly afterwards. Pressure on the home defence forced a hurried clearing kick which Sam Evans caught on the touchline and he charged towards the corner flag. He was caught just short but offloaded to Sam Butcher who scored. The conversion missed and the strong cross-wind disrupted a scoring pass from the restart. But Thorns were not to be denied and minutes later Evans and Jake Wood made good ground before Priday added extra pace and splashed his way to the line but a scoring pass was intercepted only for the ball to go loose and Priday dived on it for the try. Thorns led 17-0.

Thorns looked to turn the screw and after the forwards drove hard on the line the ball was slipped to Jack Pickles who dived over for the bonus point try. In last play Thorns attacked again and Chris Perrett made good ground before feeding Priday who shrugged off a tackle to score. Thorns led 27-0 at half time.

The Old Pats team that started the second half was a different one from that which had played the first and they scored two minutes after the resumption of play from a driving lineout. Most of the third quarter was played in the Thornbury half then Thorns regained control and as the final quarter began they scored again. After attacking down the right play switched to the left and Luke Panting scored. Then Alfie Richardson came off his wing to bisect the Old Pats defence for a seventh try.

Old Pats showed great determination and scored a second try from a driving lineout, but Thornbury had the last say. Evans and Panting led a charge down the right before Pinker cross-kicked for Richardson to score on the left. Thorns won 42-10.

It had been an impressive win and it was a surprise that six of the eight tries were scored by the back three as the conditions pointed to a forward-orientated arm-wrestle. But this was a fine performance in which every player made a significant contribution. Sam Evans and Luke Panting were particularly influential and Mike Priday took his tries well whilst Thorns’ loose forwards again had fine games individually and collectively.

Thorns next play Sidmouth at home in a fortnight.

Scorers: tries –Priday (3), Richardson (2), Butcher, Pickles, Panting; conversion –Pinker.