Thornhill Trojans agonisingly edged out after big effort against reigning champions Thatto Heath

Despite suffering an agonising narrow defeat the improvements Thornhill Trojans have made in their last few games were again noticeable in their latest National Conference League game.

By Tony Harber
Monday, 9th May 2022, 3:36 pm

The team has been bolstered with the return of several players from suspension and injury and the squad has also been also been improved with a few useful additions.

Therefore when the full-time whistle went, Thornhill were disappointed to have been edged out 36-34 by reigning champions Thatto Heath Crusaders in a see-saw Premier Division encounter.

The lead changed hands on six occasions, unfortunately for the Trojans it was the visitors from St Helens who were in front when it mattered most.

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Thornhill Trojans were narrowly beaten 36-34 by reigning National Conference League champions Thatto Heath.

Thornhill welcomed back Casey Johnson to the team having served a six-match ban. There was also a return for Matthew Tebb after recovering from injury.

They opened the scoring after only one minute when Joel Gibson broke clear and his inside pass sent Jamie Searby over for a try. Gibson converted.

Thatto Heath replied and seemed to find a weakness in Thornhill’s defence, attacking the right hand side where Niall Allen went over for an unconverted try.

The same area of the field was attacked again and some woeful tackling allowed Dave Pike to go over for a try which Jack Jones converted.

The visitors seemed on course for an easy victory when they once again attacked the right hand corner. This looked to be far too easy now as Conner Dwyer went over for their third try of the game.

But Thornhill steadied and tightened up defensively. They worked the ball up field and Jordan Lowther burrowed under a pile of bodies to score a try. Gibson converted.

This try was quickly cancelled out when an offload in a tackle created space for Tom Yates to cross for another Thatto Heath try. The goal was missed, but when Thornhill were penalised for offside Jones kicked the penalty goal.

On the stroke of half-time Thornhill were given a lift when a kick to the corner bounced up perfectly for Oliver Lightfoot to pounce in the corner and Gibson kicked a brilliant goal from the touchline to narrow the deficit at half-time to two points.

Early in the second half a brilliant run from Jordan Ward saw him spin out of a tackle and cross for a try. With Gibson goaling Trojans were back in front and looked to be on a roll.

They extended their lead when quick handling along the attacking line ended with George Woodcock scoring an unconverted try in the corner.

However, long passes from Thatto Heath overstretched the Trojans defence. There was a valiant last ditch attempt of a tackle from Liam Morley but it was not enough to prevent Adam Saunders scoring a try to which Jones added a touchline conversion.

Thornhill’s previous good work appeared to be coming undone when from a penalty Tom Mitchell sidestepped his way through the defence to cross for an unconverted try.

Thatto Heath then knocked on and from the scrum Dom Flanagan ran a great angle to cross for a try. Gibson’s goal put the Trojans back in front.

But some soft defending allowed Thatto Heath to secure the victory as Jones stepped through some tackles to cross for a try to level the scores.

He then had a tricky conversion attempt to secure the win, but the ball bounced off the upright and somehow went between the posts to win the game for the visitors.

Thornhill Trojans’ A team suffered a 52-16 defeat when they travelled to play Oulton Raiders in Division Four of the Yorkshire Men’s League.

Try scorers were Chris Mitchell, Luke Palmer and Ryan Mitchell with the latter adding two goals. Man of the match was Jacob Holmes.