Match Report: Thurston 17 v Warriors 39

Thurston 17 v Woodbridge Warriors 39

Saturday 7 February 2016

Hard fought victory for battling Warriors EADT 9_2_16 resizedWoodbridge attacked from the start in blustery conditions winning a penalty for 3 points within three minutes and exploiting Thurston’s mistakes and penalties to maintain pressure. The scrum was fairly evenly contested but the visitors distributed better and worked their centres to greater effect. The Warriors line-out was working well, Alex Brigginshaw rising like salmon to steal and JP Hart kicked long and low to pin the hosts back. Clearance kicks from Thurston’s 10; Ash Allen were run back and some heavy driving from Jono Cooke allowed Sam Jackson to set Sam Hallows up for the Warriors to score. The Woodbridge backs continued to enjoy a lot of space Hart making a strong run down the wing through lacklustre defence to bring play back to Thurston’s 22 and score minutes later. Similarly Thurston were unable to stop several phases of forward play that allowed Dan Taylor to score one for the Woodbridge pack.

Thurston struggled to get clean ball from the breakdown and, when they did, Allen and his centres; George Cracknell and Nathan Offord found Warriors fast up and tackling hard, denying any wide counter attack. Winger Elliot Stubbs had a run once or twice but his opposite number Christian Hoolihan defended well. Woodbridge continued to draw defenders in and then fired the wide ball, a tactic that saw Sam Jackson score from an interception tap back from Jono Cooke.

Thurston then lifted their heads and found some space in the Woodbridge 22 but had no joy as Woodbridge defended well, pushing back to the half and moving the ball through Jackson and Hallows to No 8 Jono Cooke on the wing who scored, making it 0-34 at the break despite a strong closing effort from Thurston.

Woodbridge forwards started hard with Brigginshaw and Captain Tom Stokes rallying the pack. Substitute Simon Codd led the charge to give Hart a chance for a long touch kick from which a penalty yielded a scrum. From a concerted Warrior shove the ball was moved out fast to the wing for Jamie Smith to unselfishly pass to Dan Taylor to score his second try and the Warrior’s sixth.

John Yorke caught the restart kick and led the attack but the penalty count moved towards the visitors as Thurston fought back with renewed vigour. The back row Simon Stutley, Pete Melven and Jack Smith worked hard to win the ball and their centres ran it as the game entered a new phase. Woodbridge’s line speed slowed and the Thurston runners found a bit of passion and space. After finding a great touch Thurston’s substitute forward Rich Pearson opened the scoring to give the home crowd a boost. Allen used the boot more and this, combined with better defence, allowed the hosts to capitalise on Warrior penalties and exploit a yellow card for Pearson to score again before second row Sam Clack scored on the last play of the match having left the comeback too late to change the outcome.

Thurston 17 v Woodbridge Warriors 39

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