Bonus point fight back at Thornbury

THORNBURY 1st XV  26pts  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  21pts

 

The Chiefs staged a strong second half rally to earn their first bonus point of the season, but will be examining why they turned around with a 21 point deficit after a first half in which they had a good share of possession and territory.

 

The Chiefs kicked off down the slope but into a diagonal breeze, which proved to be the more significant advantage. They quickly regained possession to gain an attacking position, which they maintained for much of the opening quarter hour. The forwards drove the ball well through the phases without seriously troubling the defence and a good move in the backs sent Charlie Cotton on a promising run down the right. However the best scoring opportunity came from the boot of Dan Retter, but his penalty attempt from wide out on the left rebounded off an upright.

 

The first serious threat from Thornbury followed the first of too many aimless Sidmouth kicks, which was returned with much interest by the fly half, who clearly knew his way around his home pitch. A good run by the dangerous full back took him over the line, but a fine tackle by Dan Rugg prevented him from touching down. However, the pressure on the Sidmouth line was maintained until the number six took the ball at pace to crash over from close range. The try was converted

 

The full back provided the extra man at the end of a good handling move to score a second converted try before the Chiefs went on the offensive again. A break by Dan Retter inside the 22 looked certain to produce a score, but Tristan Beavis was hauled down just short of the line.

 

In the closing minutes of the half Thornbury were on the attack again and a break by the outside centre was well supported by right winger, who finished the move off. Again the conversion was successful to complete the first half scoring.

 

Four minutes after the restart, the Chiefs reduced the arrears. A break by Steve Trim down the blind side of a scrum took play into the opposing 22, where his side were awarded a penalty. Dan Retter took a quick tap and Andrew Dare followed up to drive over from a ruck near the line. Retter added the conversion.

 

The Chiefs continued to enjoy territorial advantage. A good handling move created an overlap on the right but the final pass went astray. The forwards laid siege to the line but could not force their way over. Eventually the were penalised and the ball was cleared upfield for a lineout at which the Chiefs conceded a free kick. A quick tap was taken and Thornbury were awarded another penalty at the next ruck. The fly half kicked for the corner to give his side a lineout five metres out. They successfully employed the catch-and-drive for a bonus point try, which turned out to be crucial.

 

The Chiefs struck back almost immediately when James Powell took a quick lineout just outside his own 22. His long throw found Nick Mills, who passed to Dan Colson in space on the left. He gained ground before kicking ahead into space. He followed up to catch the full back in possession and from the resulting ruck Dan Retter scored down the unmarked blind side. He also added the conversion.

 

In injury time, the Chiefs earned a much-deserved bonus point with an excellent try. Throwing everything into attack, good inter-passing between backs and forwards sent Charlie Cotton sprinting into the 22. When he was stopped, the ball was switched to the left. Two long passes found James Powell joining the line to cut through a score under the posts for Retter to add the extras.

 

The Dukes man-of-the-match was Tom Huggett for an all-action display in his new position of loose head prop.