Thornhill Trojans recovered from a shaky opening to defeat Hunslet Warriors 30-18 in the National Conference Challenge Trophy last Saturday.
Thornhill’s poor start saw them trail 14-0 after half an hour but a very positive close saw them take control and prove victorious over their Division One opponents.
Hunslet took advantage of some sloppy handling from the Trojans in the first half as Thornhill struggled to master the blustery conditions.
From the kick off Thornhill dropped the ball and Hunslet performed a well-executed run around which ended with Luke Day racing between the posts for a try. Gary McClelland converted.
Thornhill continued to struggle in the opening exchanges with the ball going to ground. Hunslet capitalised and Richard Wheelhouse burrowed his way over for the second try. McClelland converted.
The Trojans’ dismal opening got worse when Jake Wilson was sent to the sin bin for dissent.
McClelland kicked the penalty to ask further questions of Thornhill.
Five minutes before the interval Sam Ratcliffe gave Thornhill hope when he ducked away from a Hunslet tackler and sprinted clear.
No defenders could catch Ratcliffe and he tore over for a super try which Joel Gibson converted.
This score started a remarkable recovery as good handling along the attacking line found Jake Wilson, who darted over for a try.
Gibson kicked a brilliant goal into a strong head wind and on the stroke of half time he landed a penalty goal to level the scores at 14-14.
Hunslet made a strong start to the second half and drew first blood.
From a stoppage in play Hunslet pressed for the top side of the field and winger Lee West dived over for an unconverted try in the corner.
Hunslet once again looked strong but remarkably this proved to be their last score of the game.
Thornhill began to be the master of their own destiny when Mindaugas Bendikas picked up a ball that had gone to ground out wide.
He then stepped his way through a gap and planted the ball down in the corner for an unconverted try.
A brilliant piece of opportunism from Danny Ratcliffe took play close to the line and then sold a wonderful dummy to his right before stepping through the gap to score.
Time and time again Hunslet tested Thornhill but the defence remained defiant.
The key moment came after 74 minutes when Hunslet appeared to have scored but after consulting his touch judge the referee waved away the score and the try was disallowed for a dropped ball.
Out of frustration Hunslet’s Richard Wheelhouse walked off the field, apparently refusing to have any further involvement with play.
A high kick into the wind was fluffed by Hunslet. Liam Morley took advantage of the situation and sent out a pass which put man of the match Gibson over for a try which he converted.
In the final minute of the game Hunslet were penalised and Gibson booted over a goal to put Thornhill through to the next round.