Thornhill Trojans give table topping West Bowling a scare before injuries take their toll
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After nine NCL Division One matches the Trojans still remain winless, but there has been no lack of effort.
Their latest game was switched to a Thursday evening to allow the West Bowling players to attend a stag weekend in Magaluf. Whether this contributed to their slow start or they may have not given the Trojans enough respect, as half-time approached Thornhill looked to be throwing the form book out of the window in this top versus bottom encounter.
Leaders West Bowling took an expected early lead with a try from Lewis Taylor after good handling at pace.
But from this early setback Thornhill began to show more composure and looked to be enjoying themselves as they stood toe to toe with the table toppers. Man of the match Joel Gibson was inspirational as he went on searching runs, props Jake Hickling and Liam Harley ran hard and Will Gledhill caused all sorts of difficulties for the Bowling defence.
Travis Lumb went close to scoring, but there was no denying the visitors when centre Will Gledhill dived through a gap in the Bowling defence to go over for an unconverted try.
Gledhill had to leave the field injured soon after and following the stoppage in play the hosts caught Thornhill out with Aiden Scully stepping away for try converted by Brad Wright.
Back came the Trojans, however, as Gibson sent Nathan Lowther through a gap to go over and then added the conversion.
The West Bowling coaching staff did not hold back in letting their players know what they thought of their first half efforts and with these thoughts ringing in their ears, the home players made an immediate response.
Right on the stroke of half-time a lofted pass out to the wing put Owen Simpson over for an unconverted try in the corner.
Undeterred by this late score the Trojans went in at half-time trailing by four points, knowing they could still pull off an unexpected victory.
However, West Bowling scored a quickfire try just as the second half got underway. It was Aiden Sculley who finished the move with a try in the corner. Wright converted.
As the second half wore on Thornhill began to pick up injuries and had to reshuffle more than once to accommodate and had players out of position.
It got to a point in the second half where every Thornhill player on the bench was injured so no interchanges could be made. This meant full-back Brad Llewellyn had to stay on the field despite carrying a back injury.
Eventually Thornhill’s resilience broke and Logan Simpson twisted his way over for a try between the posts. Wright again converted.
By now tempers were beginning to boil over as niggles crept into play. West Bowling had Archie Halmshaw sin-binned for punching a Thornhill player off the ball, but despite this handicap they managed to score another try through Henry MacNab after a dummy opened up the defence.
The last scoring opportunity went to Thornhill when Joel Gibson looked to have gone over for a try, but the referee waved this score away due to a knock-on.
This only added to the players frustrations as tempers continued to boil over in the closing exchanges. Late on Thornhill had Jordan Ward sin-binned for running in.
Play moved on, but after another altercation the referee decided everyone had seen enough and brought this encounter to a slightly early close.
Trojans: 1 Brad Llewellyn; 21 Joss Ratcliffe, 3 Will Gledhill, 4 Jordan Lowther, 2 Travis Lumb; 6 Ryan Mitchell, 7 Joel Gibson; 8 Liam Harley, 9 Oliver Boocock, 10 Jake Hickling, 11 Nathan Lowther, 12 Jordan Ward, 13 Harvey Roberts. Subs: 14 Oliver Lightfoot, 15 Ewan McDonald, 16 Ryan Hardcastle, 17 Matt Teasdale.