A dominant first half performance set the platform for Thornhill Trojans to secure a 28-10 win away to East Leeds in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup first round last Saturday.
The Trojans raced into a 24-0 interval lead as they simply didn’t allow East Leeds to get any hold on the tie and it was only in the second half when the intensity was relaxed that the home side were able to offer any challenge to their visitors.
Danny Ratcliffe was in a class of his own and was named as official man-of-the-match.
Ratcliffe was direct in his approach to taking Thornhill forward as the Trojans showed a ruthless streak in the opening exchanges.
A chip forward from Danny Ratcliffe created the first try as the ball bounced perfectly for him to regather and stride between the posts for a try, which the scrum half also improved.
The Trojans continued to put East Leeds under pressure. Liam Morley made a dash for the try line but was held short.
From the next play, the ball was whipped along the attacking line at speed. The East Leeds defence became over stretched and George Stott plunged over for an unconverted try out wide.
The only notable attack on the Trojans try line during the first half was thwarted.
East Leeds appeared to have forced their way over the line but the Trojans defence forced a knock on.
Thornhill turned defence into attack and Joss Ratcliffe appeared to have gone over for a try but the referee waved the score away due to a forward pass.
Joss Ratcliffe didn’t have to wait much longer for a try as a wonderful dummy from Danny Ratcliffe opened up the East Leeds defence.
Will Geldhill continued the move and sent out a pass which put Joss Ratcliffe over for a great try in the corner.
The next Thornhill try came after Will Poching broke from acting half-back and put Danny Ratcliffe racing away.
The move covered nearly half the length of the field and ended with Ratcliffe planting the ball down for his second try. George Woodcock converted.
In the run up to half-time George Stott spun out of a tackle and put Will Geldhill over for an unconverted try and Thornhill had one foot in the next round, leading 24-0.
Thornhill didn’t quite have everything their own way after the break as a rallying second half performance from East Leeds certainly gave them something to think about.
The East Leeds supporters finally had something to cheer when Jack Norfolk forced his way over the line and the try was awarded after the referee consulted his touch judge.
The Thornhill defence was then ripped wide open when Luke Tomlinson scooted away and powered over for a try which Ben Walking converted.
East Leeds sensed that they could now be back in the game but tensions spilled over and players rushed in to sort out their differences which saw the referee show Tom Geldhill of the Trojans and East Leeds’ Luke Tomlinson red cards.
East Leeds then had Joe Walton sin binned after an encounter with George Woodcock.
Thornhill sealed victory when another dummy from Danny Ratcliffe again opened up East Leeds and the ball found its way to Andrew Lambert who touched down in the corner.