WHILE the T-Birds never fired on all cylinders they were good enough to win this game, just, but they were ultimately robbed of victory by a poor refereeing decision to lose their first Championship game since 2011.
Scrappy in the extreme, T-Birds struggled to impose themselves on a strong Cheltenham side who played their hearts out at home.
With the balance of the team upset by the missing England 7s players, Ts lacked the usually deep understanding of “how we play the game”, poor decision making across the park put them in a position for the Referee to ultimately make the difference to the result.
Swapping scores through the first half, Cheltenham were dominant in the scrum but Ts easily winning all the lineouts whoever threw in.
Cheltenham were dangerous with the ball in hand and went wide to their pace at every opportunity.
Finishing the first half into a punishing wind up 3 trys to 2 and 12-15 on the scoreboard, the expectation was a push to victory with the wind behind them.
Unfortunately having kicked poorly into the wind, Ts failed to take the advantage of kicking with the wind, preferring instead to carry the ball in the wrong areas of the pitch.
Ts camped in the Cheltenham 22 for most of the half but Cheltenham got the score required to lead the game completely against the run of play and lead 17-15 going into the last 15 minutes.
With the clock ticking away the last 5 minutes Ts had a very kickable penalty awarded in front of the posts to win the game.
Captain Mercedes Foy asked the referee the score to be told that we were 19-15 behind, a gap of 4 points instead of the actual 2.
Thinking that 3 points was not enough, Ts ran the ball and lost the game.
As always there were bright points as well, with Tuson scoring to average 2 a game and Emerson returning for the last 20 minutes after a year out with injury.
Team: Tuson (T), Harris, Tyler, Harvey (T), Franklin, Rettie, Cook, Hepper, Foy, Mountjoy, Nichols, Jordan. F , Baker, Dyche, Phelps (T) . Rep: , Wheeler, Emerson, Shaw, Walsh, Gallimore.
Sunday 27th September the T-Birds continue their Season at Home to Bristol 2nd XV 2.45 KO. There will be a pre-match lunch for this fixture, Â£25 a head for 4 courses with Wine. E-mail Secretary@ThurrockRFC.com for details.
As always, Thurrock Ladies, the T-Birds welcome new players of any standard to their 2 teams. No matter how big or small, there is a place for you in a Rugby Team.
The 2nd XV is growing weekly and now has its own dedicated Coaching and Management team. Many are beginners, playing in their first Season, so don’t be put off if you are new to the game.
We can promise you great training and a great social life. Just turn up on a Wednesday evening at 7.30.