Thatcham’s seven try stormer
By Nick Rance
In a much improved performance, Thatcham did what was needed to gain a pre-Christmas boost to their fortunes as the mid way point of the season approaches at Corsham next week
Since their championship success in the Dorset & Wilts league last season, Bradford on Avon have struggled to establish themselves in Southern Counties, so this was a must win for the home side and they didn’t disappoint.
With scrum domination from the outset, it looked like it might be a long afternoon for the visitors, although their back division showed their mettle from early on. But in spite of the squally conditions, Thatcham’s poor handling of last week was for the most part a thing of the past, and with Charlie Lutterloch restored to the fly half position, there was good movement throughout and Thatcham kept the scoreboard ticking over at regular intervals. Thatcham went ahead inside the first ten minutes, winning a scrum 15 metres out, Derek Allan at 12 took a step and was past the defence to touch down under the posts. Charlie Lutterloch made no mistake with the first of six (out of seven) conversions for the afternoon. It wasn’t long before Matt Langdon crashed over for the first of his two tries, after Louis Kanaar Brown had taken a quick tap from a free kick. Thatcham’s back rowers, Kanaar Brown and Chris Dixon, both absent last week, were putting in the graft to good effect and coupled with good yardage helped keep up the pressure on Bradford. And Danny Shaughnessy had much more success running from deep this week and coming in to the line from full back.
On the half hour mark Danny Shaughnessy and skipper, Jamie Evans helped put Brandon Davies away for the third try out wide. And with five minutes of the half left to spare, Thatcham claimed their bonus point try, fittingly scored by Newbury Building Society man of the match and skipper, Jamie Evans, running in under the posts after a super offload from Kanaar Brown.
Re-starting at 26 – 0 up and four tries to the good, it looked all over for the visitors, but Bradford hadn’t read the script and started well, putting the ball through the hands to outside centre Murray Dewar who ran a good line to evade the home defence. But the visitors were unable to maintain the pressure against a dominant Thatcham pack and so it was lock, Rich Browne who forced himself over for the next score. Another Lutterloch conversion and penalty saw Thatcham take a pretty unassailable 36 – 5 lead within fifteen minutes of the re-start.
As the last quarter commenced Thatcham went further ahead with Langdon’s second try after a line out and forwards’ drive. Bradford might have been forgiven for dropping heads at this point, but were still looking for reward. They were unlucky to lose possession deep in Thatcham’s 22 only to see a kick chase up to within ten metres of their own line before recovering, but only briefly, as James Thorogood got a deserved score under the posts and Lutterloch’s conversion making it 50 points to 5.
There were still another ten minutes on the clock but to their great credit Bradford continued to press forward looking for points and Thatcham were forced into last ditch defensive mode. Yellow cards for Charlie Rayner, then Sam Smith saw the home side reduced to 14, then 13 men, but somehow still held on without further score. If they can keep this spirit going, Bradford will surely soon get the breakthrough and a win under their belt.