Thornhill Trojans 14
THORNHILL produced arguably their best performance of the season last Saturday but it wasn’t enough to prevent a narrow defeat to Pennine League Premier Division leaders Sharlston.
Thornhill players received a good deal of praise for the way in which they battled and never gave in.
It was only a 10 minute spell in the first half, when the Trojans were down to 12 men, when Sharlston scored 10 points which proved the difference.
Hooker Scott Green was instrumental in taking Thornhill forward and he was named man-of-the-match but there were other top drawer performances from Jake Ratcliffe and Rob Kelly.
Bret Simmonds, a 17-year-old debutant on the wing and 18-year-old stand-off Mason Bailey also impressed.
Thornhill suffered a set back after only six minutes when Joe Naidole was sin-binned for running with his elbows raised.
Sharlston took a quick tap penalty and Dean Gamble caught the Trojans cold as he nipped over for a try from close range and Scott Glassell converted.
Sharlston again caught Thornhill out with a kick and although there were claims visiting winger Shane Johnson had kocked on, play went on and Gareth Davies went over for an unconverted try.
Once Thornhill were restored to 13 men, they kept their hosts out for the remainder of the first half, while Ryan Fenton went close to pulling a try back for the Trojans.
Thornhill conceded another try soon after the re-start when a chip forward beat the defence and a slick pass found James Barnett, who went over, with Glassell converting.
Thornhill then began to grow in confidence and the breakthrough they needed came courtesy of a brilliant try from Jake Ratcliffe, who gathered a well timed pass and showed strength and determination to barge over and Jake Wilson converted.
Liam Green then broke away and covered nearly half the length of the field but his pass to Simmonds went to ground and Sharlston had a let off.
Sharlston centre Gareth Davies tormented Thornhill throughout and he again broke away to set up a try for Jonathan Waddle, which Glassell converted.
Thornhill raised their game and battled to the end.
Green had a try ruled out for a double movement before tempers boiled over, which resulted in Thornhill’s Nicky Byrne’s and Sharlston’s Glassell being sent to the sin-bin.
Thornhill continued to press and a dangerous move faltered when the final pass from Simmonds was intercepted.
But Simmonds quickly made amends when he gave chase to a kick forward.
The ball was collected by the Sharlston winger but Simmonds was on hand to tackle him into touch.
The winger flung the ball back inside but Anthony Broadhead was on hand to collect it and strole over for the simplest of tries.
Just before the end, the Trojans again pressed the Sharlston line and Green sent Wilson over for an unconverted try.
Thornhill left the field with their heads held high and this performance will give them confidence for when the league season resumes.
There are no matches this weekend because of the Super League Grand Final between Leeds Rhinos and Warrington, while Thornhill travel to Embassy Eagles in the Yorkshire Cup second round on October 13.