THORNBURY ended their home league campaign with a third successive defeat as Newent spoiled the party on Saturday. 

On a day that saw Thornbury say farewell to the retiring club legend Jak Evans, a greatly-weakened side were unable to match their in-form opponents, slipping to a 35-24 defeat.

Thorns' injury crisis included seven unavailable front-row forwards which put the match at risk, but calls were made and veterans Sean Underwood and Mike Sander offered their services, as did Johnny Heaven who was semi-retired.

It was a strong start form the visitors, who managed to keep Thornbury out in the early stages before mounting their own attacks that saw them take the lead with the first try of the afternoon. 

From the restart, Thornbury took play into Newent territory and earned a lineout on the line before Michael Sander was driven over for the try.

Thorns then took the lead a couple of minutes later when Will Beese intercepted a telegraphed pass on halfway and scored between the posts. Joel Bezus converted for 12-7 advantage. 

But a late forwards try from the visitors, and a conversion, meant they wrestled back the lead heading into the sheds. 

Newent began the second-half like they did the first and two tries in quick succession from their second-row meant the game was taken away from Thornbury at 28-12.

Nevertheless, a now depleted Thorns were determined to plug away. Newent infringed again and Thorns drove Luke Panting over for a try from another lineout. The conversion narrowly missed but at 28-17, Thorns were one try away from a couple of bonus-points.

But any hope of winning the game were ended soon after when Benjamin Vincent crashed over for Newent's fifth try. The conversion was good and at 35-17 the result was no longer in doubt.

But Thornbury had unfinished business and after another penalty had given Thorns a lineout in the Newent ‘22’, Chris Moseley burst away and crashed over for the bonus point try.

Despite the result, the game marked the final minutes of Evans' career. His first team debut was in a home win over North Bristol in January 2010. 189 First XV appearances and 201 Senior appearances later, the club bade farewell to one of its all-time greats. 

. Thornbury conclude their league season at Frome next Saturday.