Bourne RFC slip up as forwards toil manfully in mudbath

Bourne Rugby Club v Thorney. Match action. Photo: MSMP040114-011ow
Bourne Rugby Club v Thorney. Match action. Photo: MSMP040114-011ow

On a wet and dull day at Milking Nook Drove, conditions were hardly ideal for running rugby as Bourne hosted Thorney in Midlands 4 East (South).

It was always going to be a game dominated by the forwards with the ball like a bar of soap and the ground getting heavier and heavier underfoot as the game went on.

The pattern was set from the start with Thorney kicking off but not managing to send the ball 10 metres, resulting in the first of many scrums.

Bourne won this scrum cleanly and, with decent ball, Harry Thornburn passed to Tom Dixon who found a few yards and kicked on.

Under pressure from Andy Dixon, Thorney were forced into touch on their 22.

Play stayed around the middle of the field with neither team moving the ball far before a knock on by Ant Cooke led to further scrums.

Two incidents of ‘handbags’ resulted in both Ed Cooke and John Hume separately spending 10 minutes in the sin bin.

The referee, meanwhile, was not a fan of anything too physical in the game, blowing his whistle at will, making for a very stop-start game.

Bourne showed a much improved performance in the scrum, winning their own ball comfortably and even taking two against the head, with the front row of Neil Wood, Rhys Powell and Jake Appleby very solid and the pack working well as a unit.

But the deadlock was broken after 15 minutes with Bourne missing a series of tackles in midfield which led to Thorney scoring an unconverted try out wide.

From a break by Andy Dixon, who was tackled about 30m out, Bourne won a penalty for the tackler not releasing. Tom Dixon opted to kick but, in the conditions, it dropped just short.

Thorney ran the ball out only to be stopped by a high tackle by Cooke, who was lucky to only get a warning.

Thorney kicked into the 22 and built on a period of play which led to the No8 picking up and scoring from a five metre scrum, for a 10-0 half-time lead.

Substitutions saw Matt Rossi and Mark Thomas make some good runs in the centres, and Lee Wilcox on at loose head for man-of-the-match Wood.

James Patterson enjoyed a charge up the wing after good work from Harry Thornburn, Jason Rushton, Tom Douglas and Ewan Jones.

Thorney kept kicking the ball ahead at every opportunity and Xanti Xipu was kept very busy at fullback in the second half covering and clearing danger on a number of occasions.

Unfortunately one of these kick chases resulted in a further unconverted Thorney try in the corner with 15 minutes of the game left.

Changes were again made with Jack Berry now on at fullback and Xipu switching to scrum half to try and make a breakthrough.

One such attack came to an end though when Ant Cooke again knocked on, something everyone had suffered from on a wet, muddy day.

Bourne battled till the end but could find no breakthrough.

Coach John Forbes said: “The big lads did well in the scrum, showing who was boss and took on board what they’ve done in training.”