Drop goal hands Trojans key victory over Rangers

Drop goal hands Trojans key victory over Rangers

A DROP GOAL 10 minutes before the final whistle from Danny Ratcliffe helped Thornhill to a slender 25-24 win over Saddleworth Rangers. 

Despite twice building a substantial lead, Thornhill overcame eighth-placed Saddleworth Rangers by only one point. 

Thornhill put in a workmanlike first half with a try on seven minutes when Wayne Wilson forced his way over following a sustained attack.

Ratcliffe added the extras and went on to take advantage of a lack of discipline by the home side, adding three penalty goals to his tally.

Midway through the half Thornhill had looked to extend their lead as Luke Haigh touched down from a scrum following a towering 40/20 kick from Ratcliffe, but the final pass was judged to have been forward.

Thornhill held a 12-0 lead heading into the break.

Saddleworth took control of the game from the restart and levelled the score with a try apiece for Josh Bradbury and Danny Bower, both of which were converted by Ben Whitehead. 

Thornhill came back and having been adjudged held up shortly earlier, on the hour mark Ratcliffe put in a well-weighted kick to the in-goal area, won the chase and scrambled to touch down for a try under the posts, which he converted. 

This was shortly followed by a Josh Clough try after a brilliant pass from Luke Haigh who had dummied his way past the home defence. 

Ratcliffe added the extras to restore Thornhill’s 12-point lead. 

Following good drives by Anthony Harris and Tom Gledhill, Ratcliffe slotted over what turned out to be a decisive drop goal with 10 minutes remaining.

Back came Saddleworth though with tries from Bradbury and Andy Joy, both converted by Whitehead to take them to within a point of Thornhill with four minutes left. 

Twice in the closing stages Thornhill had the ball stolen in the tackle with play close to their line.

In the final play Saddleworth worked the ball out for winger Danny Bower to dive in at the corner to the brief delight of the home crowd.

To the Trojans’ relief, the referee judged the last pass forward and the final whistle went before the resulting scrum could be formed. 

Thornhill currently sit in second position on the table, three points behind leaders Oulton Raiders.

The Trojans face the Raiders at home tomorrow in a top-of-the-table tussle at Overthorpe Park.

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