Combination Cup

Thornbury 24 Clifton 33

THORNBURY lost their Combination Cup quarter final, yet their young side gave the cup holders a fright in a committed performance of skill and pace.

With over half the starting side still in their teens, Thornbury paid no respect to the reputation of their opponents from two leagues above and hassled and harried Clifton throughout.

After only three minutes, Thornbury wing Louis Ogilvie fielded a clearing kick and cut infield before deftly chipping the ball behind the defence.

He got to the ball first and put Jake Wood in to score close to the posts. Wood converted the try for 7-0 and the perfect start.

Ten minutes later, Clifton equalised as it began to pour points early in the second quarter.

Clifton scored two converted tries in quick succession to lead 21-7.

Three minutes before half- time, Thorns had a try disallowed when Jake Goodridge was denied what looked a good score. Clifton led 21-7 at the break.

Thornbury started the second-half well, attacking from the kick-off. The backs stretched the defence and the forwards ran directly before good passing put Jak Evans over in the corner for an excellent team try converted majestically by Wood from the touchline. Thorns trailed 21-14.

The next twenty minutes was all Thornbury as they launched attack after attack. but Clifton’s defence remained intact. Wood slotted over a penalty for 21-17. However, Thorns dropped the restart and gave Clifton good field position for them to score a converted try.

With time running out, the contest was put beyond doubt when the Clifton full-back joined the line and raced in for an unconverted try. But Thornbury had the last word when Sam Poustie intercepted on halfway and won the race to the line for the final score. Wood converted for 33-24.

Thorns tried to add to their score but Clifton were having none of it and held out to go into a semi-final tie with either Old Redcliffians or Hornets.

Seldom, if ever, can Thornbury have fielded such a young side for a competitive match, but the players individually and collectively put in performances to be immensely proud of. It was a huge learning experience for them, and undoubtedly one which will be beneficial to them and Thornbury in the future. Coach Tom Luke deserves credit for the belief he had in the players to risk selecting so many for the game. Jake Wood had a wonderful game leading the attacks and causing problems for Clifton whenever he had the ball as well as finishing with a one hundred per cent goal-kicking record. Jak Evans also had a particularly fine game.

Clifton scored five tries and deserved their win, and sportingly recognised afterwards that they had been in a very hard Cup contest. Thornbury scorers: tries – Jake Wood, Jak Evans, Sam Poustie; conversions – Jake Wood (3); penalty – Jake Wood.

Team: Josh Panting; Louis Ogilvie, Will Cullimore, Harry Tarling, James Donohue; Jake Wood, Harry Glew; Kieran Wilson, Sam Evans, Luke Panting, George Maggs, Liam Pemberton (c), Harry Eatock, Jake Goodridge, Jak Evans.

Replacements: Jack Summerfield, George Sheldon, Jack Hussey, Sam Poustie, Ben Read.