Thornbury RFC score eight in big win at Cheltenham

The visitors scored four tries in each half for a victory at Cheltenham that was perhaps less comfortable then then score suggests.

Despite dominating the first and final quarter of the match, Cheltenham were able to profit from a below par display in between to cause problems. 

Thorns went ahead almost immediately after Cheltenham fumbled the restart, with Mike Priday eventually squeezing over in the corner after an attacking scrum in the Cheltenham 22.

The hosts kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit but Alfie Richardson showed the home defence a clean pair of heels to score in the corner to extend Thorns’ lead. 

An in interception try from Cheltenham pegged the visitors back but another dominant scrum from Thornbury gave them front-foot ball and Max Harper benefitted from a Luke Panting offload to score the third of the day.

The bonus-point was then wrapped up when Panting scored one for himself from a driving maul and at 24-10, the Thorns were in charge.

But they switched off as the game approached half-time and a quick-fire double from Cheltenham pulled them right back into the contest at 24-20.

The hosts, buoyed by their display at the end of the half, began the second period with confidence but were unable to turn it into points. 

That seemed to give Thornbury the kick up the backside they needed and Mike Gatson raced over for a crucial score to open up some breething space. Jack Pinker made it a seven-point score to open up a 31-20 lead. 

Shortly afterwards Thorns scored again and effectively put the game out of Cheltenham’s reach. Pinker made a fine break and Jay Burley took the play on to the goal line before George Jackson scored.

It was now one-way traffic at this point as Thornbury’s fitness came to the fore. Gaston broke clear and fed Burley in support who scored out wide for try number seven.

Then late in the game Henry Low took a quick penalty to himself and dived over. Pinker’s conversion heralded the final whistle and Thorns had won 48-20.

The result keeps Thornbury in third, 17 points off league leaders Matson, who have won all 16 of their games in the 2022/23 campaign.

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