THORBURY Women responded to a poor first half to score three second-half tries and run out deserved, if far from comfortable winners over Avonvale Ladies writes Dave Fox.

Having not played since mid-November, it was crucial a match was played to shake off the rustiness of inactivity before league matches resume.

After an initial period on top in the first-half, the momentum swung to Avonvale who showed good ball handling and applied great pressure on Thornbury. The defence held out until the home forwards eventually drove over for a converted try midway through the half.

The restart enabled Thornbury to explore the unfamiliar part of the pitch which Avonvale defended and although the forwards had a good drive from a lineout, they were turned over and the play returned to Thornbury territory and defensive duties resumed.

Then, late in the half, a poor clearing kick was run back and the counter-attack led to a penalty try to give Avonvale a 14-0 lead at the break.

A seemingly different Thornbury team played in the second half. After four minutes, Laura Panting capitalised on a quick penalty to crash through a tackler on the line and score.

Thorns gradually took control and midway through the half Sadie Giles also scored from a quickly-taken penalty to reduce arrears to 14-10 and now the visitors were on the hunt for victory.

They left it late but Thornbury showed great continuity and Gemma Tyrrell burst through a gap on the ‘22’ to score under the sticks and Rosie Sawyer’s conversion gave them a 17-14 lead that they held onto for a mightily impressive victory.