Thornhill Trojans dig deep to win thrilling National Conference game
Thornhill Trojans came through a dramatic League F match against Underbank Rangers at Overthorpe Park to emerge with the points in their latest National Conference fixture.
The Trojans were never ahead until an often abrasive game went into the closing quarter, when Casey Johnson crossed and Joel Gibson landed his third goal to establish a 22-16 lead.
Underbank’s prospects improved significantly, however, when Thornhill duo Gibson and James Craven were sin-binned on 69 minutes for punching. Rangers scored immediately through a try from in-form prop Jasper McGuire and with Richard Pogson converting they were level.
The visitors’ coaching staff might have expected their side to go on to press home their advantage against 11 men, but when Pogson was yellow-carded – also for punching – with five minutes left, the contest assumed a different hue.
It certainly did for the Trojans’ Brad Llewellyn who a couple of minutes later, seized the opportunity to pull off an audacious ball-steal before dotting down for the match-winner.
Johnson added the extras to confirm a 28-22 victory, which maintains Thornhill’s bid for the League F title.
Rangers had gone in front on eight minutes through Dom Newton, Pogson adding the goal.
Llewellyn hit back for the hosts eight minutes later, with Pogson incurring his first yellow card in the immediate aftermath for punching.
Underbank’s 12 men not only held out in the scrum-half’s absence – Rangers actually stretched their lead on his return with an Owen Restall touchdown.
Pogson then landed a penalty near half-time, only for Thornhill to reduce the interval deficit to 12-10 with a late Jake Wilson try and Gibson’s goal.
Restall notched his second score on the resumption, Thornhill restoring parity on 47 minutes when Gibson improved Jordan Lowther’s effort –setting the scene for a thoroughly exciting closing quarter.
Trojans host Drighlington tomorrow night when Dewsbury Moor Maroons play a Cross League match at home to Siddal. On Saturday Batley Boys host Dewsbury Celtic in a League E match.
Yorkshire Men’s League fixtures for this Saturday include Mirfield Stags at home to Wyke in Division One and Dewsbury Moor away to Crigglestone All Blacks in Division Four.
Shaw Cross Sharks are away to Stanley Rangers in Division Five North while Birstall Victoria host East Leeds tomorrow night. In Division Five West, Thornhill Trojans’ second team are away to Todmorden on Saturday.