After the euphoria of the previous week’s win at Askam, Thornhill Trojans received a harsh reality check last Saturday, with a disappointing 38-24 defeat at home to Saddleworth Rangers.
The Trojans could blame a bad arm injury to Danny Ratcliffe late in the first half, which resulted in their captain having to leave the field but in reality the warning signs were there long before.
Saddleworth took their chances, exploiting some poor defending from the Trojans, to finish as worthy winners.
Thornhill threatened to draw first blood when Danny Ratcliffe’s pass appeared to have put winger Jack Gledhill over for a try, but the referee ruled it forward.
Thornhill maintained their bright start and George Woodcock burst through a gap and over for the opening try, which Danny Ratcliffe converted.
The chinks in Thornhill’s armour then began to show as a missed tackle close to the try line created enough space for Anthony Morrison to go over for a try. Ben Whitehead converted.
Saddleworth intercepted a pass and raced up field but fortunately for the Trojans the ball went to ground.
Ryan Fenton steadied Thornhill nerves by scoring a well taken try as the ball was flung along the attacking line to create an overlap for him to cross, with Danny Ratcliffe converting.
This try was swiftly cancelled out by Saddleworth as Gavin Dodd finished a neat passing move by crossing for a try which Whitehead converted.
Just passed the half hour mark Danny Ratcliffe kicked a penalty goal to put the Trojans 14-12 in front but he was then forced off injured and Thornhill’s hopes of victory steadily began to crumble.
Stand-off Ben Whitehead made a powerful run and carried a host of would be defenders over the line for a try which he converted.
On the resumption, Anthony Morrison took advantage of some missed tackles to break clear and score, with Whitehead converting.
Morrison strolled through some weak tackling to cross for his hat-trick and Whitehead converted.
Whitehead sold a wonderful dummy to prize Thornhill open and he cut through to score and added the goal.
To the relief of the Thornhill faithful, the Trojans set about a mini revival to bring some respectability to the scoreline with man-of-the-match Liam Morley, Luke Haigh and Jake Wilson leading the way.
Anthony Harris looked to have barged over from close range but lost the ball on the try line and was then sin-binned for protesting to the referee that the ball had been ripped out.
Despite being a man down Thornhill maintained their resurgence as good handling saw Woodcock finish the move with an unconverted try.
Moments later Sam Ratcliffe burrowed over for a try from close range which he converted.
Haigh lost the ball at a scrum and Jake Wilson protested to the referee resulting in a yellow card. Whitehead stepped up to kick the resulting penalty and wrap up a very disappointing afternoon for the Trojans.