Bad day at the office for Thornbury

October 27 2017
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Thornbury endured an afternoon to forget as they failed to get going in miserable conditions against newly promoted Cullompton.

Dave Fox reports


Thornbury endured an afternoon to forget as they failed to get going in miserable conditions against newly promoted Cullompton.

Bad first and last quarters and a poor performance in between meant Thornbury failed to come away with any points for the first time this season and dropped from fourth to eighth in the table.

Stafford Park was being battered by a powerful wind that was at the backs of the home side as they kicked off. They took control of the early stages and when Thornbury missed a simple tackle out wide on their 22 and Cullompton hooker Jeremy Turner crashed over for the opening score with only four minutes on the clock. Adam Pearce converted.

Bob Adams kicked a penalty for Thornbury shortly afterwards but Thornbury were not at the races in the first quarter. Cullompton extended their lead when a poor clearing kick was run back and a chip put Pearce in for a try close to the posts. He converted his try and Cullompton led 14-3 with only eleven minutes gone.

Pearce added a penalty to add salt to Thornbury’s wounds then as the first quarter came to a close Thornbury began to get into the game. Sam Evans crashed over in the corner from a quickly taken lineout but the try was disallowed as the ball had not travelled five metres, and Rob Higgitt gathered a kick ahead but was called back for being in front of the kicker.

Cullompton’s Alex Brooks, leading the side from outside half, made good use of the wind with some excellent kicking, whereas Thornbury frequently threw long speculative passes which the swirling blasts of storm Brian blew off direction.

As the half hour came Thornbury reduced the deficit as the pack drove ten metres from a lineout and crashed over for a George Sheldon try. The conversion was blown wide and Thornbury were trailing 17-8 at half time.

With the benefits of a strong wind in the second half Thornbury were confident of turning the game around chasing only a nine-point deficit.

It wasn’t to be. 

Cullompton again laid siege to the Thornbury line, and after countless pick and drive charges the inevitable try came as replacement Chris Grant scored. Pearce converted and at 24-8 the gloomy afternoon reflected a gloomy day for Thornbury.

Bad things got worse shortly afterwards when Bob Adams suffered a knee injury when attacking and was replaced by James Donohue, who moved to the wing with Jake Wood switching to fullback. The referee had sensibly stopped play when the injury occurred and restarted the game with a Thornbury scrum. Directly from the scrum Rich Bennett came in off his wing, bisected the centres and sprinted in for a fine try. Jake Wood converted to reduce Cullompton’s lead to 24-15.

A fine kick shortly after the restart took Thorns back to the Cullompton line. The home side made a hash of the lineout and Sam Evans gratefully collected the ball and scored. He received a boot to the head for his pains and whilst the conversion was sliding past the posts he was taken off and George Sheldon returned with Thorns trailing 24-20.

Cullompton scored a few minutes later in a try that seemed to sum up the match for Thornbury. A badly-directed kick was run back by the Cullompton fullback. He eased through three very weak tackles, stepped through the next line and linked with the ever-present Woofenden who scored the bonus point try. Pearce converted to open up a 31-20 lead.

A Cullompton rolling maul was hauled down illegally close to the line the referee awarded a penalty try. With less than ten minutes left Cully were out of sight at 38-20.

The defeat was a second in a row in October for Thornbury after loosing at home to Newent in what was the visitors first victory at Thornbury.

Thornbury were left to rue a number of missed scoring opportunities in a dominant first half and let Newent control the second half for a narrow win.