Thornhill Trojans recovered from a shaky opening to beat Division One’s Hunslet Warriors 30-18 and progress to the next round of the Conference Challenge Trophy.
The home side started slowly and Hunslet took advantage of some sloppy ball handling from the Trojans in the first half.
From the kick-off Thornhill dropped the ball and from the scrum the Warriors 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 on this and Richard Wheelhouse burrowed his way over for their second converted try of the game.
The Trojans’ dismal opening to this game then got worse when Jake Wilson was sent to the sin bin for dissent.
From the resultant penalty McClelland kicked the goal to ask further questions of Thornhill.
But five minutes before the interval Sam Ratcliffe suddenly gave Thornhill hope when he ducked his way away from the Hunslet tackler and sprinted clear. No defenders could catch the wing man and he tore over. Joel Gibson converted.
This score started a remarkable recovery from Thornhill and in the final minute of the first half, good handling of the ball along the attacking line found Jake Wilson.
The centre seized the ball and darted over for a try, which Gibson converted. The full-back then kicked a penalty goal to go into half-time with the scoreline at 14-14.
Just has the first half had commenced, the Hunslet team made a strong start to the second period and drew first blood.
From a stoppage in play Hunslet pressed for an opening and they found one when winger Lee West dived over for an unconverted try in the corner.
Hunslet once again looked strong but this proved to be their last score of the game.
The Trojans began to gain some control 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.
This Thornhill score was quickly followed by a brilliant piece of opportunism from Danny Ratciffe.
Ratcliffe took play close to the line and sold a wonderful dummy to his right, which created a gap and he stepped through to plant the ball down.
Trailing by 10 points the Hunslet side battled hard and they tested Thornhill, but the Trojans’ defence remained defiant.
The key moment in the game came on 74 minutes when the Hunslet team appeared to have scored. However, 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, refusing to have any further involvement with play.
As the clock moved towards full time 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 himself.
In the final minute of the game Hunslet were penalised for ripping. To wind down the clock Gibson booted over a penalty goal to put Thornhill through.