Thornbury started the game with speed and determination which seemed to surprise the visitors. Right from Keynsham`s kick off they returned the ball and were on the attack on both flanks. Keynsham did eventually repel the offensive and replied with some attacking moves of their own. The results were too frenetic and loose and the ball was lost and turned over on too many occasions. At 11 minutes an instance of this led to an intercept try for the home side from just outside their own 22, the conversion from under the posts put Keynsham 7 points adrift. They responded immediately with Jack Weston beating a handful of would-be tacklers to make fully 35 metres; from this they should have forced a try in the corner but again the ball was lost. Play moved backwards and forwards in entertaining style for a while, then a penalty for a high tackle gave Sam Challenger a shot at the posts which was successful to narrow the gap to 7-3. 4 minutes later, after 25 minutes had passed the Keynsham edged ahead thanks to an unconverted try by skipper Hayden Johnson. A series of technical offences saws Thornbury advance to within 7 metres of Keynsham`s line and a line-out. The resultant catch and drive brought Thornbury back in front 12-8 thanks to an unconverted try. Yet again Keynsham replied with pressure, but a knock-on in front of the posts cost a probable try. A long first half (48 mins) continued with both sides still full of running, but defences held and it must be said, the home defence should take a lot of plaudits for their defence for long periods of the half.
Joe Wright gave way to Phil Harvey at prop during the break. 6 minutes into the second half saw Keynsham edge in front again. This followed a powerful scrum some 10 metres out and was claimed by Callum Fennell, unfortunately Sam`s conversion, although struck sweetly, hit the upright and stayed out. This stung the home side and, almost within seconds but certainly less than 120, scored a wonderful try with the ball passing through a multitude of hands. It was now 19-13 and Alex Hill joined the fray in place of Paul Moody, Moodos having aggravated an injury he started the game with. A huge kick from a mark, well inside his 22, gave the home side a line-out less than 10 metres from the line and the resulting throw-in saw another catch/drive score. This was converted from wide to push Thornbury`s lead to 24-13. Joe Clements came off the bench for Al Linton at this stage. 21minutes gone and a yellow card for a “professional” foul saw the home centre sin-binned but it took 7 minutes for Keynsham to capitalise on the extra man. This they did thanks to a try from hooker Josh Woodman and Sam added the points to bring Keynsham within striking distance of a win or at least a losing bonus point at 24-20. They did not really threaten the game thereafter and with the minimum of time left, Thornbury refused a probable three points for a very kickable penalty and opted to go for a line-out in the corner. This worked well as a try resulted and with the conversion the final score of 31-20 denied Keynsham the satisfaction of what would have been a deserved losers bonus.
Both sides had what looked to be tries not given - so that, “if only” doesn`t apply. It would appear to this on-looker that we need more acuity (look it up!) with ball in hand and cooler heads when in the opposition “red zone”; also, more discipline, particularly at the break-down where we have been penalised too often for going over the ball and side entry. Once again, all the squad strived their guts out although it must be said that not all played as well as they would have liked.