Thorns slip to gloomy defeat
By Dave Fox
Thornbury came unstuck in a tough game on a sticky pitch at Keynsham and slipped to their sixth defeat in the last eight league games.
Despite the 24-19 defeat, they secured their seventh losing bonus point, and with other results going their way moved up one place to sixth in the table.
Wholesale changes were required once again. With Jak Evans added to the injury list Jack Hussey returned to the back row and Finn Hitchcock was promoted from the Development XV back row to the First XV second row for his debut.
Harry Glew, Rich Bennett and Dai Matthews returned to the backline with Sam Poustie restored to outside half and Jake Wood moved to fullback. Five of the starting XV were 17 or 18 years old.
Keynsham were promoted to the league as winners of Western Counties North and had a youthful side led by experienced and very capable No.8 Jack Weston.
Thornbury kicked off towards the clubhouse on a very cold afternoon under heavy clouds that made the light gloomy. With the game kicking off later than expected at 2:30 there were fears the match would finish in darkness.
Keynsham withstood early pressure and their forwards began to take control, with Weston prominent. Wing Kit Timmis knocked on after Keynsham had created space out wide but the ball retention of the home side was good and after the pack picked and drove on the Thornbury line the defence cracked and scrum half John Pearce dived over for the opening try. Sam Challenger converted.
Thornbury equalised as the first quarter drew to a close. Thorns attacked from a scrum on halfway. Good passing and a looped run from Sam Poustie set Louis Ogilvie clear. He stepped around his opposing winger and showed the defence a clean pair of heels to touch down between the posts. Jake Wood converted.
Keynsham’s pack took control again and Ben Angell crashed over for the try. Challenger converted to make it 14-7.
Keynsham attacked from their own 22 but Sam Poustie intercepted and ran in for Thonbury’s second try. Jake Wood’s conversion to tie the scores.
Parity didn’t last long, with an accurate pass from Keynsham’s Pearce putting Timmis in at the corner. The conversion was missed but Keynsham led 19-14 at half time.
While Keynsham returned to the relative comfort of the changing rooms at half time Thorns stayed out on the pitch and when the match recommenced Luke Panting was on for George Sheldon.
Thornbury equalised for a third time when the forwards drove Keynsham over their line from a driving lineout. The backs had joined in and it was centre Harry Tarling who touched down close to the corner flag.
The conversion was just short but the momentum was with Thornbury and they continued to take the game to Keynsham but some of the tactical kicking wasn’t up to standard. The ball was regularly kicked away when keeping the ball in hand and stretching the defence looked a far better option.
With ten minutes of time remaining Keynsham entered the Thornbury 22 for the first time in the second half. Their forwards mauled with flanker Jack Evans scoring the winning try.
Thonbury knew a converted try would win the match and give them a try bonus point. However, the game was now being played in almost total darkness and Keynsham hung on to win.
Scorers: Thornbury: tries – Louis Ogilvie, Sam Poustie and Harry Tarling; conversions – Jake Wood (2)
Keynsham: tries – John Pearce, Ben Angell, Kit Timmis and Jack Evans; conversions – Sam Challenger (2)