Thornhill Trojans coach Danny Ratcliffe steps down after tough season

Thornhill Trojans brought down the curtain on their Premier Division campaign with a 32-12 defeat at home to Leigh Miners in the National Conference League.
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It was Danny Ratcliffe’s last game in charge of the team after he has chosen to step down following a very difficult season.

His Thornhill team gave a battling performance and at one point took a 12-10 lead before fading away in the latter stages.

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Man of the match was second row Jamie Searby, but there was also a sterling effort from Joel Gibson who had only arrived back from holiday that morning, coming straight from the airport to pull on a shirt.

Danny Ratcliffe has chosen to end his time as Thornhill Trojans head coach.Danny Ratcliffe has chosen to end his time as Thornhill Trojans head coach.
Danny Ratcliffe has chosen to end his time as Thornhill Trojans head coach.

Leigh gave their travelling supporters something to shout about early on when Lewis Grimes went over in the corner. Sam Pilkington converted.

A kick to the opposite corner then caught Thornhill out. The ball bounced unexpectedly and Sam Pilkington was on hand to pounce for an unconverted try.

Trojans hit back as the ball was kept alive basketball style close to the try line. Will Gledhill flipped the ball out to winger Joss Ratcliffe and he powered over in the corner. Gibson converted.

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The revival continued into the second half when George Woodcock charging over and Gibson goaled.

But from this point Thornhill began to unravel and Miners took their opportunities.

Joe Connor cut inside to go on a striding run which saw him score a try between the posts. Pilkington converted.

Thornhill had a chance to score a crucial try when Gibson cut through the Leigh defence. He looked to be a certain scorer only to lose the ball as he attempted a one-handed try.

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Things then got worse when with Thornhill attacking the line a pass from Gibson was intercepted and winger Pilkington raced the length of the field to score an interception try.

After scoring the try Pilkington got down and did some press ups. He could not complete the show boating totally as he failed to convert his own try, the ball bouncing off the post.

Thornhill’s misery was further compounded when a high kick came down and was misjudged. The bounce was perfect for Andy Badrock to collect and go over for a try converted by Pilkington.

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In the final moments of the game Craig Ashall sold a dummy which opened up the Trojans. Ashall cut inside to go over for a try between the posts.

Playing his last game before retiring, Darryl Kay was allowed to kick the goal to wrap up the game.

The Trojans are set to be relegated after finishing second from bottom with five wins from their 22 matches, finishing two points above Egremont Rangers, but four behind Pilkington Recs and Rochdale Mayfield.

National Conference League Premier Division

Thornhill Trojans 12 Leigh Miners Rangers 32

Match Sponsor: Newly Weds Foods

Trojans: 1 Ryan Mitchell; 20 Joss Ratcliffe, 3 Will Gledhill, 11 Jake Hickling, 5 Taylor Potts; 6 Liam Morley, 7 Joel Gibson; 8 Lee Smith, 9 Luke Haigh, 10 James McHendry, 4 Nathan Lowther, 12 Jamies Searby, 13 Josh Clough. Subs: 14 Bailey Lee, 21 Anthony Broadhead, 15 George Woodcock, 17 Scott Craven.

Tries : Joss Ratcliffe, George Woodcock.

Goals : Joel Gibson (2).

Man of the Match: Jamie Searby.

Sponsors Man of the Match: Luke Haigh and Lee Smith.