Thorns lose top spot with narrow defeat

December 23 2019
Thorns lose top spot with narrow defeat

Hornets 29-24 Thornbury

THORNBURY lost top spot in the table following a narrow defeat at Hornets but returned from Weston-super-Mare with two points.

A fightback from a substantial deficit saw them lead with 15 minutes remaining in another terrific game of rugby.

But this defeat and the postponement of Thorns' match at Keynsham on December 14, due to a flooded pitch, left them third in the table ahead of their pre-Christmas visit to Lydney.

Hutton Moor, aka the Nest, has been a bogey ground for Thornbury. The First XV has won there only once before, way back in December 1992, when Tet Ogilvie and Nick Jackson scored tries for Thorns. Only six of the current Thornbury side were alive then, and most of those were still in nappies when Thornbury won 10-8. In the years since, Thornbury have regularly delivered poor performances there.

The floodlights were on as Hornets, wearing red shirts, kicked off into heavy drizzle. The Somerset side dominated the early stages but crucially lost hooker Callum Lane to injury.

But with precious little ball to play with, Thorns were called in to defend for most of the first quarter and had missed more tackles in the first fifteen minutes than they had in the whole match with Sidmouth seven days before.

After seventeen minutes home fullback Charlie Carter opened the scoring with a penalty, followed by a converted try for a 10-0 lead.

Thorns at last managed to get into the game in the second quarter and then scored the try of the match. Running the ball from a scrum on their ten metre line, quick passing created space for Alfie Richardson, who ran freely and at pace, taking play to just outside the Hornets ‘22’ and passed out wide to Harry Glew, who sprinted in to score out wide. Jack Pinker’s conversion was narrowly wide.

Four minutes later Hornets scored another converted try for a 17-5 lead but the remaining fifteen minutes of the half belonged to Thornbury, who stretched the home defence, shoving their hosts over the line from a lineout for James Phillips to score. A missed conversion saw Hornets lead 17-10 at the break.

Early in the second half Thorns were level after a well-worked driving lineout saw Sam Evans crash over for a try, converted by Pinker.

Hornets regained control of the game and went ahead 22-17 before more pressure on the home lineout allowed Jack Hussey to steal the ball, juggle with it and then ground it over the line for Thornbury’s fourth try. A bonus point in the bag, Pinker’s conversion put Thorns ahead for the first time at 24-22.

But the referee then let Hornets escape their defensive duties when a long kick was chased by several forwards who were many yards offside. Instead of a Thornbury penalty Hornets were awarded a scrum, and attacked from the set piece. Thorns gave Hornets too much room and following a chip over the defence, Adam Francis scored a second try. That gave Hornets a bonus point and the lead, with the conversion putting them more than a penalty ahead at 29-24.

Thorns had fifteen minutes to regain the lead and they dominated most of those minutes but were unable to score.

So two points for Thornbury. It was a close game between two good sides, and Thornbury will think they could, perhaps should, have won it. If they had started better it could have been a different story.

Dave Fox