Thornbury RFC are preparing for the new season after a successful first campaign back after the pandemic.

Thorns finished fifth in the league and only lost twice at home during the season: narrow defeats to Chew Valley and Lydney who were both promoted, whilst the highlight was a 36-12 hammering of Devonport Services, who ran eventual champions Chew all the way.

It took Thornbury a couple of months to find their form but a win at Sidmouth in early November, their first win on the road of the season, was the turning point and Thorns went on a seven match unbeaten run. The run ended at home to Lydney with a match marred by a season-ending injury to club captain Sam Poustie. Thorns later registered half-century wins at home over North Petherton and Wellington but in the end their fifth place was about right.

Alfie Richardson topped the try-scorers with 14 whilst Jack Pinker scored 183 points. In the end of season awards Jon Ford was Clubman of the Year, Jake Wood was First Team Player of the Year whilst the prestigious Players Player of the Year went to Luke Panting. Mike Priday was the most improved player and Jake Goodridge won The Hammer for being “as hard as nails”.

There was great celebration in the Davies-Cren household as Jacques won Second Team Player of the year and brother Tom Junior Player of the Year.

Long-standing club stalwart David Parry-Jones was honoured by the RFU for over 20 years service to the Gloucestershire Rugby Union Discipline process. He received his award from RFU President Jeff Blackett at Twickenham.

The 2022/23 season is Thornbury’s 60th, and it features a new league structure which includes the First and Second XVs in new 12-team leagues. The league campaign is run to mid-March and is then followed by a cup competition the finals of which are likely to be held at Twickenham. Sam Poustie continues as First XV captain although is unlikely to play until the autumn. Harry Woolf succeeds Richard Jones as Second XV captain. It is hoped the Social Rugby Third XV will play several matches during the season.

Pre-season training commences in early July, with former Wales No.8 Gareth Delve having been appointed head coach. Wayne Thompson assumes a coaching co-ordinator role as well as being, along with Gareth Knox, part of the senior coaching team. Jonny Wilson has been appointed coach/manager of the Second XV.

Thornbury begin the season with a friendly at Chew Valley on August 13th then welcome Old Bristolians to Rockhampton Road the following Saturday. The third pre-season match is a trial game with Hartpury College at Hartpury on August 25th before the opening league match sees Chosen Hill at home on September 3rd. The Second XV begin their league season at Barton Hill the same day.