Thornbury U16s v Drybrook U16s – County Cup Sunday 3rd Feb 2013

 Thornbury RFC U16s     10               Drybrook RFC U16s     17

Drybrook had a point to prove after losing heavily away to this team at the end of last season. The winner of the match would also be awarded a Home draw for the Quarter Final of the County Cup so there was much to play for.
The Foresters started well, pressurising hard up the slope until after five minutes their influential No8 Tyler Jerrum crashed over from a 5m scrum to open the scoring.
Thornbury fought back after the restart, keeping Drybrook in their own half for several minutes but the green tide rolled inexorably uphill, forcing penalties from their rattled-looking hosts. Eventually inspirational captain Will Greenway, playing his best rugby of the season, crashed over from 5 metres out to double the score.
Tom Sime added the conversion but the Foresters lost concentration for a couple of minutes: Thornbury capitalised in good fashion, scoring near the corner to reduce the deficit.
Drybrook buckled down again, with Blaine Harris making a crunching cover tackle to stop another attack and Ashley Wallace getting stuck in all over the place. More pressure from the Foresters saw Jason Jones force his way over to give Drybrook a 17-5 lead at half time.
The second half was attritional as the under strength Drybrook squad, with only one sub, rotated the worst injured player onto the bench until

someone else took a knock. The penalty count rose as Thornbury became frustrated and Drybrook tired: with 20 minutes to go the hosts grounded the ball in the middle of a ruck on the Drybrook line and were awarded a try.
That last quarter saw Drybrook dig deep – with fly half George Cinderey kicking well out of hand and the twin talismans of Will and Tyler leading from the front, the Foresters just wouldn’t give in. When late in the game prop Max Pratten hit a ruck at speed and cleared out three big Thornbury players it seemed to sum up the spirit of the team.
With two minutes to go a nasty injury to Drybrook’s Kieran Auker-Howlett threatened to stop the match, though eventually the flanker-cum-scrum-half was carried off to hospital. Fired up by Kieran’s loss, the Foresters kept their heads and possession, running down the clock to earn an excellent victory.
While Drybrook were always likely to score tries it was their defence that was most impressive: this was a squad victory and a tribute to their will to win. All sixteen players should be proud of themselves.

Drybrook Squad: Kieran Auker-Howlett, Richard Bowkett, Rhys Chandler, George Cinderey, Will Greenway (captain), Blaine Harris, Alex Iles, Tyler Jerrum, Luke Johnson, Jason Jones, Keir Palmer-Smith, Max Pratten, Adam Rees, Huw Rimmer, Tom Sime and Ashley Wallace.