Newly promoted Kingsbridge started life in South West One defeated but by no means disgraced after they fell 19-10 to last season’s promotion chasing Thornbury.
Kings had little time to get themselves ready as they were stuck in horrendous traffic on the journey up to Thornbury. Arriving just 10 mins before scheduled kick off and being allowed only 20 mins of warm up time they soon put that behind them and gave the home side a testing afternoon in far from ideal conditions.
Kings, travelling with a makeshift front row, struggled initially to control the tight play and lineouts were especially difficult, but by the end of the game had sorted themselves out. They were a match for the more experienced home side and were unlucky to come away without the consolation of a losing bonus point.
Both teams struggled to gain the upper hand in the first half but the visitors made things even harder for themselves having two men sent fairly harshly to the sin bin. 2 Penalties from Thornbury and a reply from George Banfield sent the home side in 6-3 ahead at half time, both teams having chances to score more but both defences holding tight. Kings especially held out well in the last five minutes when down to fourteen as they repelled serious pressure from the Thornbury pack.
Kings started the second half well and should have levelled the score with an easy penalty. They will have to make sure that they come away with points from these positions as the season goes on. It was a little against the run of play when Thornbury scored a push over try resulting from a penalty. Converted Thornbury led 13-3. Kings came straight back into the game with a try of their own after a great catch and drive from the restart by Merrin and it galvanised Kingsbridge into their best period in the match . Ben Newman going over from a well worked move. Banfield converted 13-10. As often the case a silly penalty after getting back in the match saw Kings drop further behind and a further long range penalty left the score at 19-10. The dying moments of the match saw Kings squander the chance to gain a bonus point when they elected to run a very kickable penalty.
Kingsbridge should take a lot out of their first foray into the new division. They played with heart and purpose and showed they will be a force to reckoned with over the coming season.
This weekend will see Kingsbridge entertain the visiting Bideford for their first home SW1 league match of the season at High House. Kick off will be at 3pm.
Kingsbridge Colts launch their new Devon Merit Table season with the visit of Brixham. Kick off on the Longfield pitch will be at 2.30 pm.