Thorns grind out win
By Dave Fox Thornbury returned to winning ways in the league with a hard-fought win over Okehampton played in rain on the gloomiest of afternoons. The win saw Thornbury leapfrog their opponents from Devon in the table.
Thorns had delivered forgettable performances in the two matches with Okehampton the previous season and were looking to address that and build on a solid performance at Drybrook the previous weekend. Okehampton had a similar season to Thornbury to date, but had scored freely when given the opportunity. The match ball was sponsored by Alan Pearn, the former Bristol scrum half and record points scorer who had played for both clubs.
Heavy overnight rain had made the pitch slippery and further rain threatened as the match started under low, heavy clouds that meant the game started in a kind of twilight.
After twenty three minutes good passing created space for Jak Evans to thunder through. Quick accurate passing along the three-quarters put Jake Wood in at the corner for a well-worked try. He converted with a fine kick to open up a 7-0 lead.
Okehampton started the second half far better as Thornbury struggled to get going. After three minutes a kick was run back and a poor tackle allowed No.8 Tom McGrattan to charge through on a fine forty metre run. Although tackled the ball was recycled and eventually returned to McGrattan for the try. The conversion was a poor attempt and Thorns retained their lead.
McGrattan scored a second a few minutes later with a spectacular run helped by three woeful tackles. This time Luke Simmons was able to convert and Okehampton went 12-7 ahead.
Thornbury awoke and knuckled down. Jak Evans dived over from a driving lineout but the referee disallowed the try. He did award Thornbury a penalty for an illegally sacked lineout drive and sent the replacement No.8 to the sin bin.
Thorns were not to be denied and shortly afterwards shunted the Okehampton pack over their line with the ubiquitous Evans touching down for the try. Jake Wood converted and Thorns returned to the lead at 14-12.
With six minutes of extra time elapsed Okehampton attempted a cross kick from a scrum on their own line. The ball fell short of its target, was taken by Sam Poustie who stepped two defenders and scored by the posts.
Jake Wood converted to give Thornbury the win 21-12.