Trojans are crowned champions despite suffering defeat at York

Thornhill Trojans were crowned National Conference Division One champions despite suffering defeat at York Acorn, having already won he Heavy Woollen Jim Brown Cup last month.Picture:Paul Butterfield

Thornhill Trojans suffered a surprise 24-12 defeat away to York Acorn last Saturday.

Thornhill were left dejected by defeat but spirits were raised when news filtered through that Leigh Miners Rangers had also lost and the Trojans were confirmed National Conference League Division One champions.

It was a much changed Thornhill team which took to the field.

Several players, including head coach James Ratcliffe, were absent due to wedding commitments or injuries.

Scott Dyson was left in charge of team affairs for the day and a debut was handed to 16-year-old full-back Brad Llewellyn.

There was also a return to the team for Will Poching, Scott Green, Lee Smith and Jonathan Hellings.

The game was played in a constant downpour and at full-time Thornhill’s large contingent of travelling supporters couldn’t retreat to the clubhouse fast enough to dry off and check on the Leigh Miners score.

Thornhill man-of-the-match was Danny Ratcliffe, who battled admirably in difficult circumstances.

He also scored a fantastic try which York Acorn officials described as the best they had seen there all season.

Both teams were locked in an arm wrestle for nearly half an hour.

Thornhill did appear to have scored at one point but the ball couldn’t be held in the corner.

Eventually the stalemate was broken by York Acorn as James Bromwich ploughed under a clutch of Thornhill defenders to score an unconverted try.

Tempers began to simmer as both teams were frustrated by the slippery conditions and the referee had to speak to the captains.

Danny Ratcliffe’s special try came from a scrum just inside York’s half of the field and he collected the ball and went on a glorious run.

Ratcliffe went on an arching run out to the wing and then cut back inside and headed for glory towards the posts.

This was sheer class, the York team couldn’t close him down and the try was scored. Casey Johnson converted to give Thornhill the lead.

On the stroke of half-time York were awarded a penalty and Andy Gargan kicked the goal to leave the teams level at the interval.

As the second half kicked off Thornhill seemed to be playing with more urgency.

Declan Tomlinson went on a powerful run before the ball was worked to Anthony Harris and he charged over for a try to the side of the posts which Casey Johnson converted.

However, the longer the second half went on the more the Trojans faded. A dummy from Jake Callum spliced the Thornhill defence wide open and he sprinted away on a spectacular long range run for a try which Josh Parker converted.

A draw would have been enough for Thornhill to secure the title, so when York Acorn fluffed what appeared to be a relatively easy penalty goal attended, the visitors breathed a collective sigh of relief.

But York Acorn weren’t finished and Reece Rushworth shrugged off a tackler to go over for a try. Joe Budd converted.

Budd then finished Thornhill off with a try to the side of the posts which Parker converted. This score rounded off a bad day at the office for the visitors.

At full-time it looked as though Thornhill still had it all to do again in their final league game of the season.

However, the news of Leigh Miners defeat filtered thought to lift their spirits as the Trojans were confirmed champions.

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