A TRY from skipper Luke Panting in the final seconds salvaged a draw for Thornbury RFC in an entertaining 33-33 draw with Lichfield on Saturday.

Both sides rotated their squads throughout the match and fortunes fluctuated. After Thornbury raced into a 26-7 lead Lichfield fought back and went ahead before Thorns left it perilously late to tie the game.

Thorns, playing up the hill in the first-half but were on the scoreboard after nine minutes when a scrum on the Lichfield line was eventually recycled quickly to allow Mike Johnson to race over in the corner. Jack Pinker converted for an early lead.

Thorns returned to the attack and just after the 20th minute, Luke Panting took a poor Lichfield lineout and charged on before offloading to Pinker who swerved past the last line of defence to score. He converted for a 14-0 lead.

Shortly after the restart Lichfield opened their account when their powerful pack drove over from a lineout.

Leading 14-7, Thorns applied pressure from the restart and Richardson spotted a gap in the defensive line and raced through to score the third try of the afternoon. Pinker added the extras for 21-7.

Late in the half, James Jackson scored the fourth try after pressure on the visitors’ line but Lichfield drove over for a second driving lineout try to reduce the deficit to 26-12 at the break.

The visitors applied the early pressure but the Thornbury defence was well-organised and repelled all attacks. However, after absorbing severe pressure, that defence eventually cracked when Lichfield’s left wing scored a converted try in the corner.

Thorns, eager to hit back, attacked and this time the Lichfield defence had to work overtime and they kept their line intact in the face of constant pressure despite having two players in the sinbin.

Shortly after they were restored to full-strength, they scored the try of the match with a fine attack from a scrum on their ‘22’. The conversion tied the score and the momentum was now with Lichfield then with two minutes remaining they scored another converted try to lead for the first time.

But Thorns were not prepared to give the visitors the spoils, and from the restart they attacked close to the Lichfield line.

After several surges down the left the ball was moved into midfield where Panting shrugged off two tacklers and crashed through two more to score between the posts.

Pinker still had to convert to secure the draw, which he did with aplomb. The referee blew for the end of the match with the teams tied at 33-33.