Pictured: Man of the match Casey Johnson
THORNHILL TROJANS kicked off their NCL campaign in impressive style with a convincing victory over Stanningley (32-8).
Although far from faultless, this was a performance which showed that the Trojans mean business for the new league season. The margin of victory could have been far greater had Thornhill been able to convert more of their seven tries.
Man of the match was the in-form Casey Johnson, with the loose forward’s leadership qualities there for all to see while he also weighed in with a try of his own.
There was also an impressive performance from Jake Wilson with some strong in-play running. Debutant Jordan Ward also caught the eye with a confident performance.
The Trojans opened the scoring with a try from Matthew Tebb when some quick-thinking from acting-half saw the hooker burrow over for a try from close range.
This try was swiftly cancelled out with a well-taken score from Stanningley. An offload in the tackle picked out Niall Murphy wonderfully and he sprinted through a gap to go over for an unconverted try.
Tebb then became try creator when he managed to slip the ball out of the tackle to the supporting Rye Ward. The youngster showed great awareness to take the pass and dive over for a try, converted by Johnson.
The longer the half wore on, the more Thornhill began to hold the upper hand, and as play reached the half-hour mark Will Geldhill plunged over for an unconverted try in the corner.
Thornhill came out for the second half leading 14-4 and the introduction of Jordan Ward gave their play further direction. His courageous run towards the tryline saw the home side’s lead extended.
The second-half scoring continued when Liam Morley wound back the clock to score a vintage try. Morley took the ball and, with a sudden burst of pace, went on a direct run which saw him pick his way through the Stanningley defence.
Midway through the second half, Stanningley made a break down the wing and, despite a couple of desperate last-ditch tackles from the Trojans, Carl McGuigan managed to ground the ball.
However, this proved to be too late in the game any serious comeback and when Jordan Lowther took play close to the tryline, the pressure was on again. Lowther caused a back-to-one right on the line, and Johnson went over.
The final try of the game was created when George Woodcock combined with Wilson. Space was created in the corner and Sam Ratcliffe went over to wrap up a great opening-day victory for the Trojans with plenty of positives to reflect on.
The result puts Thornhill top of the table for the week, and they will look to build on that with their first away trip tomorrow (Saturday, kick-off 2.30pm) at Milford.