Midlands Four East (South) - Deepings 8 Thorney 29
Deepings’ unbeaten start to the league season faced its sternest test yet against Thorney at Linchfield Road in what proved a long day in the field for the home side.
The Green Machine made eight changes to their starting XV from the one-sided 62-5 demolition of Stamford College Old Boys the previous weekend.
First XV skipper Guy Cunningham, ex-Spalding centre Lance Charity, second row forward Andy Cuthbertson, openside flanker Michael Harrison and blindside flanker Alex Millar were all missing from the Deepings side that ran amok at Green Lane last Saturday.
But their absences took nothing away from skipper for the day Steven Corrigan’s determination to lead from the front and evidence for that came just a minute after left-winger Dave Robertson was a foot into touch away from scoring the home side’s opening try after just three minutes.
Corrigan then made sure of giving Deepings a 5-0 lead with a try in the corner reminiscent of Jason Robinson’s score for England against Australia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final.
I thought it was a good performance, particularly in the first half when Thorney’s defence was strong and yet we managed to penetrate it for Corrigan to score the first try in the corner.Ex-Deepings 1st XV skipper Gareth Silverwood
The conversion by Corrigan was missed which was the cue for Deepings to come under a sustained spell of Thorney pressure as its forward line threatened to overrun their hosts, driven on from the sidelines by coach Richard Horne.
Thorney eventually broke through after 27 minutes when a lineout was collected by centre Tom Deplancke and he dived over for the first of his three tries on the day.
With the conversion missed, Deepings looked to go in level at the break as long as their defence stayed solid and concentrated.
However, the hosts failed to win another lineout which allowed loose-head prop Darrell Thrower to snatch an unmerited and unconverted try just before half-time to make it 5-10.
Seven minutes into the second half, Corrigan kicked a penalty to put Deepings back in touch with their unbeaten opponents as Horne sensed the home side were tiring amongst their backs.
Then came the pivotal moment of the game as scrum-half Chris Sorlie was sin-binned and Deplancke scored his second try on 51 minutes, this time converted by winger Marcus Papworth to make the score 8-17.
There was to be no way back for the Green Machine after 67 minutes when hooker Richard Clayton profited from poor Deepings defending to score another try (8-22) and Deplancke put the result beyond doubt with his third try, converted by Papworth.
In truth, the scoreline was harsh on Deepings who suffered from having five first-choice players out and a controversial refereeing decision with seven minutes left when ex-Green Machine skipper Gareth Silverwood saw his try ruled out.
Silverwood said: “I thought the referee made a poor decision when I ran through to score a try, only for one of the Thorney players to call the play back for a head injury.
“But overall, I thought it was a good performance, particularly in the first half when Thorney’s defence was strong and yet we managed to penetrate it for Corrigan to score the first try in the corner.
“As the game progressed, Thorney scored a couple of easy tries when our defence went to sleep and in the second half, our discipline wasn’t the best and we gave away a few penalties.
“The lads know that we could have done better, even though we weren’t able to put out our strongest set of backs because of injuries.”