Thornhill Trojans secured promotion to National Conference League Division One with this fantastic 35-16 victory away to Wigan St Judes in their final game of the season.
When the full-time whistle sounded the Trojans players and supporters celebrated their success together.
But this was far from a walk-over victory for the Trojans and with just over a quarter of an hour of the game played they found themselves 16-0 down.
The Wigan team were dominant in the game’s opening exchanges and were punching holes in the Trojans’ defensive line.
The home team also seemed to adapt to the unusually long grass on the pitch quicker than the Trojans.
The first of St Judes’ tries came moments after kick off when winger Ashley Marshall burst down the wing from just inside his own half of the field.
Marshall ran over the top of a would be Thornhill defender to race away and complete a long range score. Rob Collier kicked the goal.
St Judes maintained their strong opening and piled on the pressure, testing the Trojans’ defence as Ben Jones forced his way over from close range for an unconverted try.
Thornhill then gave a brief indication of what they were capable of when James Craven broke clear but the final pass was intercepted, while Will Poching was also held up over the line.
St Judes clearly hadn’t read the script and Luke Barrett twisted his way over for a try despite the attention of several defenders.
The cheers from the Wigan supporters went up while the Thornhill followers were left shaking their heads in disbelief. Rob Collier converted and the Trojans trailed 16-0.
The tide began to turn following the introduction of Thornhill substitute Scott Dyson andthe Trojans began to tick.
Man-of-the-match Danny Ratcliffe finished the game with a four try haul.
Ratcliffe had a perfect foil in stand-off Liam Morley. Both played off each other to create opportunities for the Trojans.
From a scrum the ball was worked along the attacking line and Danny Ratcliffe sold a subtle dummy and strolled through the gaping hole to make the score seem effortless. George Woodcock converted.
The Trojans then moved the ball at speed in the opposite direction. The slickness of the passing overstretched the Wigan defence and James Craven went over for a try in the corner. Woodcock kicked a brilliant touchline goal.
The next Thornhill score came straight from a scrum as Danny Ratcliffe made a dart for the line. The gap appeared for him to go over for his second try, which this time was unconverted and the Trojans looked to have recovered from their slow start as they went into half-time level at 16-16.
The second half started in the best possible way with Morley scoring between the posts after Craven took play over half the length of the field and Woodcock converted.
The scoring then eased off with the Trojans holding onto their 22-16 lead until the final 10 minutes of the game.
Morley made a telling break and Danny Ratcliffe maintained the momentum to complete his hat-trick. Woodcock converted.
A drop goal from Danny Ratcliffe appeared to make the game safe but to make certain, Ratcliffe made a final raid at the line to cross between the posts for his fourth try. Woodcock converted.
It was then all eyes on the referee to blow for full time and confirm the Trojans’ rise to Division One.