Wadebridge Camels 32 Thornbury 30
WADEBRIDGE Camels put the disappointment of their Tribute Cornwall Cup final defeat behind them by returning to winning ways in the league.
The Camels had seen their hopes of a top-four finish in South West One West fade with three straight defeats.
However, they got back on the right track against their mid-table visitors in a repeat of their Western Counties West promotion play-off match in April 2010, which Wadebridge won 25-21.
It was an equally tense and exciting battle on Saturday, played in brilliant sunshine to help boost the club's successful Ladies' Day celebrations, which attracted 70 guests.
However, the Camels also enjoyed a fair bit of good fortune to help them take the spoils.
Deep into injury time, Thornbury centre Tim Stephens missed a kickable penalty which would have snatched victory.
The visitors also had a try by impressive scrum half Jak Evans chalked off early in the second half after Devon Society referee Ben Chadwick was accidentally knocked out by a Thornbury player in the lead-up to the score.
Stephens missed an early penalty chance for Thornbury in the strong breeze as the visitors camped inside the Camels' half for the opening 15 to 20 minutes.
Matters got worse during that period for the hosts when lock Rob Hawkey was sin-binned for coming around the side to deny a try-scoring opportunity.
Constant pressure eventually saw Thornbury grab a try, when fly half Wayne Underwood's break was finished off by lock Paul Lambert, but Stephens inexplicably missed the conversion.
The score gave Camels the opportunity to get out of their own half, and good play opened up a gap for centre Sean Johns to dot down a try under the posts, converted by fly half James Grubb, to make it 7-5.
Four minutes later, scrum half Adam Collings put Grubb in for try number two after a powerful run into the left corner.
Almost from the restart, Camels infringed and Stephens slotted the penalty, but Grubb booted over one of his own for a 15-8 lead.
However, the dying moments of the half belonged to Thornbury as they scored two touchdowns - a good support try by loose-head prop Kevin Rudrum and another from replacement full back Liam Rinn.
Both conversions were missed, but Thornbury led 18-15 at the break.
In the 45th minute, Grubb levelled matters with a penalty, before Camels scored arguably the try of the match. They worked the ball from a scrum inside their own 22 through various pairs of hands, and 19-year-old flanker Adam Blackmore crossed for his first touchdown for the Camels first team, with Grubb converting to make it 25-18.
Thornbury then had a try disallowed when the referee came to grief, but they scored very soon afterwards through right wing Richard Bennett, excellently converted by Stephens, to again tie the contest up at 25-25.
Camels used their replacements well, and a few minutes later, centre Cam Lees chipped the ball over former Bristol back Rob Higgitt, regathered, and charged in for a try from the halfway line, with Grubb once more converting.
However, Thornbury refused to lie down and came storming back with a touchdown from Evans.
Stephens missed the conversion, which would have levelled it, and then squandered the late penalty chance as Camels hung on.
Wadebridge visit bottom side North Dorset on Saturday in their penultimate match of the season.
Camels thrashed them 69-5 at Molesworth Field in December, and North Dorset have only won five of their 24 league games.
Wadebridge: Pengelly, Rowe, Johns, Lees, D Hawkey, James Grubb, A Collings, Cullis, Ballard, Treleaven, R Hawkey, J Scott, Blackmore, M Grubb, Gynn (capt). Replacements all used: Josh Taylor, Jamie Taylor, Dawe.
Wadebridge: Tries: Johns, James Grubb, Blackmore, Lees; Cons: James Grubb (3); Pens: James Grubb (2).
Thornbury: Tries: Lambert, Rudrum, Rinn, Bennett, Evans; Con: Stephens; Pen: Stephens.