THORNBURY head to Okehampton on Saturday for a Tribute South West One West league game conscious that they will need to play considerably better than in their last match to overcome their Devon opponents. Okehampton have only lost at home twice this season and play in a similar style to North Petherton who inflicted a heavy defeat on Thorns on a torrid afternoon three weeks ago.

Okehampton was not a happy hunting ground for Thornbury last season either but Thornbury have beaten Okes this season, a 21-12 home win featuring three fine tries. There is no doubt that Thornbury can win if the forwards can secure enough ball for their dangerous backs.

Thorns will be hoping the lengthy injury list reduces for the game, particularly their forwards which will be under pressure from a well-drilled and effective Okehampton unit. Okes’ influential captain and number eight Tom McGrattan, has scored twelve tries in the league.

But Thornbury also have a try-scoring Devonian in their ranks. Sam Poustie joined Thornbury this season and he too has scored a dozen league tries.

Thorns’ outside half has had a terrific season and forms with Harry Glew a youthful half-back combination in a side full of youngsters. With Thornbury effectively safe from relegation in fifth place in the table, the experiment of blooding so many of the development squad can be viewed as a great success. The youngsters have grown into the shirt and developed as rugby players and as young men. It was a gamble which head coach Tom Luke has confidently delivered.

Former Castle School teacher Alan Pearn has a connection with both clubs. The now-retired PE teacher played for Okehampton before becoming Bristol’s outstanding scrum-half of the 1970s then finished his playing career in a Thornbury shirt.