Hunslet Old Boys 20
Thornhill Trojans 16
By Andrew Hunt
THORNHILL Trojans produced a gallant effort but were edged out in a thrilling Yorkshire Cup final at Wakefield’s Belle Vue on Tuesday.
Backed by a large travelling support Thornhill battled bravely and looked like snatching a dramatic victory before Hunslet held out to lift the famous trophy for the first time.
Hunslet struck first in the second minute of what proved a hard-fought game which saw three red cards – two for Thornhill and one for the Old Boys.
Winger Ricky Hazelwood squeezed in at the left corner but Thornhill responded well, superbly led by former Dewsbury Rams duo Ryan Glynn and Darren Robinson.
The Trojans mounted a sustained spell of pressure and having gone close on several occasions, deservedly hit back after 23 minutes.
The impressive Glynn broke from halfway before drawing the full-back and slipping a lovely ball to Scott Green. He looked a certain scorer but was denied by a brilliant tackle from Jerome Malcolm. Joss Ratcliffe dived over from acting half-back and Robinson converted to the delight of Thornhill’s vociferous fans.
However, the lead lasted less than two minutes as Kieran Murphy was on the end of a good move to score, with Carl Briggs converting.
Robinson made a fine run and darted through a gap to score at the right corner and it remained 10-10 at half-time.
Hunslet regained the advantage two minutes into the second half when scrum-half Ben Dean and centre Murphy linked to put Hazelwood in for his second try and Briggs landed a terrific touchline goal.
After 50 minutes an unsavoury incident resulted in Thornhill stand-off Robinson and Hunslet prop Tom Saunders being sent off.
Robinson first clattered Hazelwood with a late tackle, which sparked a fracas. Hunslet were awarded a penalty but straight after Robinson came in with another late tackle which resulted in a brawl.
It was several minutes before referee Steve Cross could restore order. He gave Robinson and Saunders straight red cards and several other players were fortunate not to be given their marching orders.
It spoilt what was otherwise an enthralling clash, which kept the 2,478 crowd on the edge of their seats throughout.
After calm was restored, Murphy scored his second try to stretch the Old Boys’ lead to 20-10.
Thornhill fought back and Ryan Fenton produced a superb break before they moved right and James France sent Craig Holmes in at the corner.
Glynn landed the touchline goal to put the Trojans within four points but although they created further chances and despite eight minutes of injury time Hunslet held on for a famous win.
Thornhill’s day was further soured in the last minute when Joss Ratcliffe was sent off for alleged gouging before the final whistle sparked Hunslet celebrations.
Hunslet Old Boys: Rawson; Hazelwood, Murphy, Stubley, Malcolm; Banks, Dean; O’Conner, Bradley, Saunders, Briggs, Bradley, Campbell. Subs (all used): O’Malley, Thorpe, McDermott, Foster.
Thornhill Trojans: Morley; France, Joss Ratcliffe, Holmes, Fenton; Robinson, Glynn; Kelly, Jake Ratcliffe, Harris, Eastwood, Wilson, Green. Subs (all used): Walker, Holdsworth, Naidole, Woodcock.
Referee: Steve Cross. Att: 2,478.