Due to it being a rest weekend for League Fixtures the Thundercats squad of 17 players included 3 from the 1st XV but otherwise once again the Thundercats team was full of youthfulness and promise. It’s probably also fair to say that Gordano were fielding a number of 2nd and 1st XV players in their 3rd XV, including Club Captain and ex Old Es player Joe Rowsell.
Thundercats Squad: Jedd Perry, Will Leggatt, Greg Foord, Archie Walker, Matt Bailey (Capt), Alex Potts, Will Appleton, Luke Jagger, Joe Brock, Pat Dore, Kit Douel, George Evans, Matt Carr, Scott Tomlins, Ted Bristow, Tom Trinder, Blake Knowlson
A sunny October day greeted both teams onto the lower pitch which is quite narrow and probably would better suit the heavier Gordano team as opposed to the free flowing Thundercats team so this was very much going to be a game of weight vs speed! Nevertheless, the game couldn’t have started better when a good move involving Pat Dore, Kit Douel ended up with a ball back inside to Luke Jagger who placed the ball down under the posts making the extra two points for Will Appleton a formality (0-7).
The topsy turviness of this fixture then began as Gordano drove forward following a 5m line out only to be awarded a scrum that drove the Thundercats’ scrum backwards and a good pick up from the base of the scrum saw Gordano go over for a well converted try (7-7). The Thundercats were playing well and doing everything to keep the ball away from the Gordano forwards. However, following a scrum Gordano Scrum Half Joe Rowsell used his bulk to break through the TCs’ defence but was stopped 10m out. Blake Knowlson was then replaced following an injury.
The Thundercats scrum was certainly suffering and another successful lineout, maul and drive from the Gordano’s forwards saw the referee award a Penalty Try, a bit harsh but no complaints (14-7).
TCs bounced back following a break by Scott Tomlins, with Will Appleton snaking through to score a good try, not converted (14-12). Teddy then went off injured and TCs were down to the bare 15. Joe Brock was having a great game and a good break by Matt Carr and Scott Tomlins almost resulted in further points for the Thundercats. The TCs tackling was immense and commented on by the TCs’ following supporters, good stuff from Tom Trinder and Greg Foord. TCs were applying pressure and could have scored twice in quick succession in the right hand corner but Kit Douel will be kicking himself as his soapy slippery hands let him down just short of the line. Kit will no doubt learn from this and looks set to be a regular try scorer for the Thundercats. Just before half-time a good exchange between the forwards and backs led to a well worked try for skipper Matt Bailey so TCs led at half-time (14-17).
The Thundercats started brightly in the second half and almost capitalised on a Joe Rowsell dropped ball! Rowsell redeemed himself straight away with a good break through the middle as Gordano trundled forward and only a try saving tackle from fullback Matt Carr, in the form of his life, stopped Gordano from taking the lead again. Rowsell, though, picked up and bullied his way through to score under the posts (21-17).
The Thundercats continued to show promise and it looked as if, but for the Gordano defence, they could break through at any moment. Greg Foord returning from injury ended a good shift and for a moment it looked like the scrums would be uncontested however a prop from Gordano stepped in and pulled a tight fitting TCs’ shirt on! A spilled ball from Pat Dore nearly added to the TCs’ points but this soon happened when Luke Jagger broke free for his second try of the game under the posts. The kick however was sliced by Will Appleton who was hurried into taking a drop goal rather than wait for the kicking tee, but nevertheless TCs had got their noses in front again! (21-22).
The all round game for the Thundercats from 1 to 15 was thoroughly entertaining and George Evans was having a good running game as TCs continued to attack with promise and defend with strength. Another try saving tackle from Matt Carr kept TCs in front. Thundercats then conceded a penalty inside their 22 and the Gordano kicker lined up his kick but pulled it to the left but the referee ordered it be taken again as Will Leggatt mistakenly charged down the kick. With the repeat kick the Gordano kicker made no mistake and it looked like Gordano had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat (24-22).
Another knock-on from the kick off by Joe Rowsell gave Cats some hope in the final seconds and a good move down the right wing from Pat Dore and pass to Alex Potts gave CTs a try under the posts with Luke Jagger putting the Icing on the cake with two extra points (24-29) and that’s the way it ended, a brave, exciting victory for the Thundercats who have now won 4 out of 5 games!
Final score: Gordano III 24 – 29 Thundercats
Man of the Match: Luke Jagger
A really entertaining game for the Thundercats’ supporters and great spirit shown as the TCs never gave up and probably on balance deserved their win, well done to everyone.
Paul Barrington (Blakey)
Next OE 1st XV match: Saturday 23rd Oct at Home to Frampton Cotterell - Kick Off 3:00 pm