Table-topping Thorns are near-perfect
THORNBURY delivered their most complete performance of the season with a well-structured and controlled victory over Sidmouth in a thrilling game.
Both sides ignored the heavy pitch to run the ball at every opportunity and both defences were effective and well-organised, but Thornbury had the extra edge and scored a try in each of the quarters to earn a try bonus point which saw them return to the top of the table.
The match had been at risk following several days of torrential rain during the week but a relatively dry Friday and only moderate rain overnight meant the sunny Saturday morning and light breeze dried the pitch sufficiently for the game to go ahead.
With four minutes gone Thorns were 5-0 ahead after Sidmouth were penalised at a Thornbury lineout and, after the ball was put in the corner Jay Burley burst away and scored by the corner flag.
As the first quarter came to an end Sidmouth began to crank up their intensity and New Zealand No.8 Asipeli Vea carried well, but he was hammered in an inspirational tackle from Jak Evans and sent back towards south Devon with love. It brought a huge cheer from the crowd.
As the match went into first half stoppage time Thorns had two lineouts and in the second they shunted Sidmouth over, with Charlie Squier awarded the try. Bob Adams’ conversion heralded the half-time whistle with Thorns 12-0 up.
Thorns extended their lead eleven minutes into the second half when Jay Burley burst through on half way and charged twenty-five metres through the visitors’ defence, then it was quickly recycled and Sam Poustie put Alfie Richardson into space. He bisected two defenders, drew the cover and passed to Harry Glew in the clear and he raced in from the ‘22’ and touched down by the posts. Bob Adams converted again for 19-0.
As the light and time began to disappear Sidmouth tried desperately to score and Thorns conceded several penalties, pegging them back into their ‘22’.
It seemed Thorns would not get the try bonus point which they had managed to secure in each of their home matches so far this season until, in the fifth minute of stoppage time, the ball went loose and Ben Marlow picked it up and raced clear, showing remarkable pace at this late stage of the match to sprint out of the darkness and thirty metres to the line. Adams converted and the referee blew for the end of the match with Thornbury deservedly winning 26-0.
This was an outstanding game between two teams intent on playing positive open rugby.