A SECOND HALF collapse saw Thornhill Trojans slide to a disappointing 45-20 defeat to Drighlington at Overthorpe Park.
The home team went into the game knowing that with three games to go the destiny for the Premier Division title was in their own hands.
Drig set their stall out early and after only two minutes prop Andy Brearley forced his way over the line from close range. Michael Sanderson converted.
But Thornhill quickly recovered from the early setback and with Drighlington on the attack Minduagas Bendikas took advantage of some poor ball security to turn defence into attack and race away for a score.
Joel Gibson converted.
The home side soon repeated their feat when Gibson scooped up a loose ball close to the Thornhill try-line before kicking downfield and re-gathering, he then sent out a pass to the supporting Danny Ratcliffe who raced away for an unconverted try.
Gibson was sin-binned for a high tackle and Drighlington took advantage when a precise, short pass allowed Adam Helliwell to stride through a gap and over for a try which Sanderson converted.
This was quickly followed by another Drighlington try as, from a penalty, play was worked to the Thornhill line and hooker Gary Smith forced his way over. Sanderson converted for an 18-10 lead.
As the second half got underway a series of missed tackles resulted in Martin Rielly going over for a try which Sanderson converted before Lee Mulhearn did the same for a try between the posts. Sanderson converted.
Now trailing by 20 points the game took a turn for the worse for Thornhill when Gibson was shown a red card for an alleged heat-butt.
But the reduction seemed to galvanise the Trojans and Richard Bostock broke clear from the Thornhill tryline and passed to the supporting Danny Ratcliffe who sped away to score.
On the next Thornhill attack Bendikas received the ball and sprinted clear of the visitors full-back. Sam Ratcliffe added the extra two.
Sanderson added a penalty to extend his side’s lead late on.
Before a drop goal on 71 minutes from Nathan Larvin effectively killed off Thornhill.
This allowed Mulhearn and Tom Moorby to score late tries for the visitors. Both of which Sanderson converted.