Thorns crushed in last quarter
By Dave Fox
Thornbury failed to convert a half time lead into victory and were thrashed in a forgettable last quarter in which they conceded 26 unanswered points.
After three weekends of inactivity Thornbury travelled to Devon for a tough game. The match was played on an adjacent pitch as the main ground was being replaced. Thornbury played downhill and began well. A driving lineout was held up over the Okehampton line, but Thornbury were not to be denied and on ten minutes a well-executed lineout drive saw Jak Evans score out wide. Jake Wood converted for a deserved 7-0 lead.
Okehampton attacked from the restart and took play to the Thornbury line. It was now Thornbury’s turn to defend and after repelling many phases of powerful drives they conceded a scrum five metres out. From a quick heel skipper Tom McGrattan scored for Tom Powell to convert and tie the score.
Thornbury restarted well and looked to build in midfield but an intercepted pass saw Okehampton charge to the Thornbury ‘22’. Then with elbows and fists flying a substantial scrap ended with Jak Evans taken to hospital after a punch to the eye.
Okehampton looked the better side at the time and on the half hour mark went ahead. The left wing took a box kick unopposed and stepped inside the cover before feeding outside half Dan Fogerty who raced away and scored. The conversion hit the post but Okehampton were well worth their 12-7 lead.
But this seemed to inspire Thornbury as the match entered first half injury time Harry Glew took a quick penalty after constant infringement in the Okehampton ‘22’ and fed Williams who showed great determination to shrug off several tackles and score. Jake Wood’s conversion put Thornbury back ahead at 14-12.
From the restart, Jack Hussey took play on and linked with Mike Beswick and Williams for Sam Poustie to slide in for a try. Wood’s conversion brought the half time whistle and an interval lead of 21-12 to Thornbury.
Okehampton started the second half by far the better side and a try from flanker Dean Abrams after two minutes, converted by Powell, reduced the deficit to two points.
As the match entered its final quarter Thornbury’s Sam Poustie was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on in front of his posts which the visitors thought was an attempt to knock the ball upwards to be intercepted rather than slapped down to stop the move.
Although the Okehampton penalty kick went wide the momentum was now with the Devonians. Scrum half Richie Friend capitalised on a powerful Okes scrum then Kieran Lee finished off a fine run from the restart to put the match out of Thornbury’s reach at 31-21.
Okehampton centres again ripped holes in the midfield to allow winger Brandon Horn to score. Friend converted.
Sam Poustie came back on with 19 points scored in his absence. Thornbury had been ahead when he went off; they were now dispirited and broken as he came back on.
With the match in stoppage time weak defence in midfield again let in the Okehampton centres and they created space for Fogerty to score. Friend converted and the final whistle saw Okehampton win convincingly 45-21.