THORNBURY returned from Gloucester with maximum points after a hard-fought win over Matson.

After five successive defeats in all competitions, which saw Thorns slip from fourth to eighth in the table, the win was crucial.

Matson kicked off into an icy gale and Thorns used the conditions well with a huge kick from coach Tom Luke taking play from one ‘22’ to the other.

Thornbury went ahead after four minutes when Jake Wood ran back a clearing kick.

Tom Williams made good ground before play switched to the right where Rob Higgitt scored in the corner. The conversion narrowly missed.

Sam Poustie then extended Thorns lead when on hand to pounce on the ball after Thorns had driven Matson off the ball at a ruck on their line.

Luke converted, but Matson scored minutes later when the wing crashed through tackles out wide for the try.

Thornbury went further ahead early in the second quarter when excellent continuity saw the ball moved to the right then the left through many phases before Liam Pemberton and Jake Wood created space for Will Cullimore to step inside and score a try.

Luke converted but Matson hit back with a fine counter-attack try. Thorns led 19-10 at the break.

Having started the first half well Thornbury dozed as the second half began. Within the first six minutes the lead was lost as Matson scored two converted tries to lead 24-19.

Thornbury needed to get back into the game and Wood provided inspiration with a fine run from half way to the Matson line.

Thorns recycled quickly and the ball was moved to Rich Bennett who was bundled into touch in the corner.

As the third quarter drew to a close Thornbury began to take control of the game. They looked fitter and played with better structure but Matson had the edge in tight play.

Thorns needed to keep the ball moving and after another many-phased move Mike Beswick bamboozled the defence to put Higgitt in at the corner for Thornbury’s bonus point try. The conversion missed but the scores were tied at 24-24.

Five minutes later Thornbury went ahead when Luke cross-kicked for Bennett to score in the corner.

The conversion put Thornbury 31-24 ahead then shortly afterwards a Matson attack on halfway broke down and Bennett broke away and scored between the posts. The conversion put Thorns 38-24 ahead with ten minutes remaining.

Matson scored a late consolation try but Thornbury held out for the win.

Although Thornbury’s forwards lacked bulk they were mobile and supported well.

The inclusion of Tom Luke for the first time this season made a significant difference and Tom Williams carried well. Rich Bennett defended powerfully and took his tries with skill whilst Jake Wood looked a threat on the counter attack.

The win will give Thornbury confidence before playing Clevedon next week.