Thornhill Trojans warmed up for Thursday night’s Heavy Woollen ARL Jim Brown Cup final against Batley Boys by recording an impressive 18-14 victory away to Lock Lane in the National Conference League last Saturday.
Victory saw Thornhill end a six-match losing run and has handed them a lifeline of avoiding relegation from the Premier Division as they moved within a points of third-bottom Rochdale Mayfield and three behind the safety of Leigh Miners Rangers with three games to play.
The Trojans knew only a win would keep alive their survival hopes but were eight points behind with six minutes left before producing a thrilling fight back.
Danny Ratcliffe and Nick Mitchell crossed for late tries, both of which were converted by Casey Johnson, who had also improved Jake Wilson’s opener.
Lock Lane had bounced back from Wilson’s touchdown with an Oliver Bloomer brace, a Danny Sowerby try and a Nathan Fozzard goal.
Lock Lane’s Chris Siddons and the visitors’ Will Gledhill were sent off on 27 minutes for alleged punching with Tom Sowerby also yellow-carded at the same time, also for punching.
Ratcliffe will now aim to win the Jim Brown Cup for a sixth time when the Trojans meet Batley Boys at Fox’s Biscuits Stadium on Thursday before they face Underbank Rangers in another crucial Premier Division clash on August 31.
Dewsbury Moor slipped to a 56-6 defeat against Milford, who kept alive their mathematical promotion hopes alive.
James Samme gave Moor an early lead with a try which Aiden Ineson converted, but Milford recovered with a brace apiece for Jake Payne, Steve Bacon and Sam Nicholl, with Mark Judge, Martin Loveridge, Josh Cawood and Mark Brocksom also crossing and Loveridge kicking eight goals.
Victory leaves Milford four points behind second placed Featherstone Lions with only two fixtures left and have a vastly inferior points’ difference.
The Maroons remaining scheduled games in Division One are both at home as they face third-bottom side Saddleworth Rangers on Saturday August 31 and end the season with the visit of promotion chasing York Acorn on September 7
Shaw Cross Sharks’ relegation to Division Three was confirmed by an 80-0 defeat at Wigan St Judes.
The promotion-chasing Wigan side ran in 15 tries against the Sharks, for whom avoiding the drop had been made highly unlikely by defeats against East Leeds and Crosfields in the previous two games.
Reece Storey, Gavin Rodden and Darryl King all scored hat-tricks as the home side racked up the points.
Connor Parkinson and Joey Brady both crossed twice, while Mike Stevenson and Lewis Melling also touched down in the rout.
Danny Fallon added nine conversions and King also kicked two goals.
Shaw Cross have two fixtures remaining – a home clash with Beverley on August 31 and a trip to Clock Face Miners the following weekend.