Old-fashioned win for Thorns

February 26 2018
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Thornbury consolidated their fifth place position in the table through a hard-fought victory over Bridgwater in a game played in a mud bath.

By Dave Fox 

Thornbury 15 - 10 Bridgewater & Albion

 

Thornbury consolidated their fifth place position in the table through a hard-fought victory over Bridgwater in a game played in a mud bath.

In what was an old-fashioned forward-orientated slog, both sides contributed to a hugely entertaining match.

Injury problems late in the week denied Thornbury the presence of Jake Wood and Josh Whitlock from a side that already showed a few changes from the win against Cullompton. Alfie Richardson moved to fullback with Louis Ogilvie starting on the wing.

Bridgwater had shown good form since the turn of the year and had given the leading two clubs bloody noses before losing by a point or two. Their substantial pack looked to be the key feature of the game, particularly with Thornbury selecting a small but mobile unit and the state of the pitch.

Thornbury kicked off downhill into light drizzle and were soon in the lead after Tom Williams converted a penalty.

Bridgwater gained and retained possession but were in their own ‘22’ and as the players slopped and slithered from ruck to maul the Thornbury defence kept Bridgwater where they sank. 

Thornbury refused to ease off the pressure on Bridgwater and with the scrum becoming stronger with every set piece it was fitting that after one scrum pushed Bridgwater back ten metres the second should shove the visitors over their line for Jack Hussey to grab the try. Tom Williams converted for a 10-0 lead as the first quarter came to an end.

Bridgwater showed they are a quality side with some clever handling from the restart and put constant pressure on Thornbury.

Johnny Heaven was yellow-carded for preventing a quick penalty being taken and Kyran Devitt opened Bridgwater’s account with a penalty. Three minutes later the halftime whistle blew with Thornbury 10-3 ahead.

From the restart Bridgwater’s ball-retention was excellent and after another powerful assault on the Thornbury line, Brad Talbot, a No.8 playing in the centre, crashed over. Devitt converted to tie the scores. Johnny Heaven came back on with all ten Bridgwater points being scored whilst he was in the bin.

As the half progressed, Thornbury were awarded a penalty close to the Bridgwater line. It was taken quickly and although Bridgwater infringed again the ball was moved wide to Tom Williams who scored close to the corner flag. He couldn’t convert his try but Thornbury had regained the lead at 15-10.

There was little to choose between the sides in the second half, with Bridgwater shading the territory.

The ball was slippery, the pitch surface increasingly unstable, and energy levels were decreasing. Bridgwater missed a difficult penalty which was the nearest either side came to scoring in the last quarter. 

A good win in a tight match for Thornbury.  It wasn’t such a good day for groundsman John Arrowsmith who could see a busy time ahead salvaging the pitch for the rest of the season.