Thornhill Trojans produced a battling display before bowing out of the BARLA Yorkshire Cup as they were edged out 18-14 at Sharlston Rovers.
The Trojans only had 13 players for last Saturday’s quarter-final tie due to injuries and unavailabilities and it proved a game too far.
The Trojans led for just short of 60 minutes, but the loss of full back Mark Hodgson with a nasty head injury, meant that the 12 men were forced to dig deep.
The extra man advantage proved crucial in the closing 20 minutes as the Sharlston team took control to progress to the semi-finals.
Despite only playing 53 minutes, Hodgson was Thornhill’s man of the match as he soaked up everything Sharlston could throw at him.
The loss of Hodgson was a major setback but other players who shone were Jordan Lowther and Luke Haigh, who was outstanding in his go forward play, constantly urging his team mates on.
Lowther used his magnificent kicking game to pin Sharlston back and keep them on the back foot.
Lowther’s kick to the corner created the first try as Mindaugas Bendikas gave chase and grounded the ball to score.
Lowther once again was the try creator when he intercepted a Sharlston pass in front of the posts and set off with a turn of pace.
As the halfway line approached Lowther switched the ball to the supporting Bendikas, who sprinted clear, covering over half the length of the field to score. Mark Hodgson converted and the Trojans led 10-0.
Thornhill continued to battle in the first half with Shane Johnson making a couple of dangerous raids.
However, they were given a taste of things to come when, on the stroke of half time, stand off Adam Jones sold a dummy close to the Trojans line.
The dummy left the Thornhill defence flat footed, the gap appeared and Jones nipped over for an unconverted try.
Thornhill dug deep in the second half but Sharlston created an overlap to put Sam Wilson over for an unconverted try in the corner.
This score also saw Hodgson leave the field with a heavily bandaged head.
With no available substitutes the Trojans battled on with 12 men.
It was another dummy from Jones close to the try line which gave Sharlston the lead.
There were calls from the Thornhill players that Jones had lost the ball but the referee awarded the try and Jorge Richardson converted.
With 10 minutes left Sharlston scored a sensational long range try. The ball was booted along the ground towards the in goal area.
Chris Shaw sprinted after the kick as the ball slid through the mud and despite claims for offside, the try was awarded to effectively end Thornhill’s hopes. The conversion was off target.
There was one final flurry from Thornhill and in the final minute of the game a kick from Mason Bailey dropped into the in goal area for Sam Ratcliffe to score an unconverted try.
This was all too late for the Trojans and the referee eventually blew for full time to end their cup hopes and bring their season to a close.