Thornhill Trojans ground out a 32-10 victory at Blackbrook in their first National Conference League away game of the season last Saturday.
There was an impeccably observed minute’s silence before kick off in memory of former Thornhill player, official and life member Ged Brentnall.
The game was a real slow burner until the 55th minute when a spectacular long range try from Mindaugas Bendikas finally gave Thornhill a firm hold on proceedings.
Thornhill’s man-of-the-match was second rower Ben Kendall who showed great determination with his strong running.
After the scrappy opening Thornhill managed to score the first try through a brilliant piece of opportunism from Danny Ratcliffe.
Thornhill kicked forward on the last tackle and the Blackbrook full-back collected only for Danny Ratcliffe to steal the ball back in a one on one situation and raced 40 metres to score. Andrew Bates converted.
The good work was quickly undone when Thornhill knocked on from the restart. Blackbrook quickly worked the ball out wide for Aaron Hewitt to score out wide.
Thornhill put up a high kick on the last tackle. A mistake in defence gifted possession back to the Trojans and George Stott powered through a gap and over for a try which Bates converted as they led 12-4 at half-time.
Straight from the restart Blackbrook’s Scott Auldson ran onto a pass and scored between the posts. Jordan Darwin converted but Thornhill extended their lead with a Bates penalty.
Then came the break-away try from Mindaugas Bendikas which finally gave Thornhill a hold on matters. He raced 60 metres and Blackbrook had no chance of catching him as he scored a decisive try. Bates converted.
There was then a break in play when a Blackbrook player went down with an ankle injury and had to be stretchered off.
Once play resumed Liam Morley made a brilliant break and put the supporting Bendikas over for his second try. Bates converted.
In the final minute, Danny Ratcliffe broke clear to put the supporting Scott Green over and Bates converted to wrap up Thornhill’s first league away win of the season.
Thornhill Trojans held a reunion to mark the 10th anniversary of the team which beat Workington Town 16-12 in the Challenge Cup third round and then travelled to Super League Catalans Dragons.
A ball signed by all the players was also auctioned off to help raise funds for the club.
The team, pictured above, were: Anthony Broadhead, Scott Dyson, Matthew Roberts, James Folan, Simon Haigh, Liam Morley, Andrew Bostock, Shane Davies, Johnny Campbell, Richard Pachniuk, Andrew Byram (secretary), Ian Rayner, Jason Firth (coach), Luke Haigh, Danny Lee, Scott Redgwick and Robert Copley.