Batley Boys 6-23 Thornhill Trojans
Thornhill Trojans claimed the Jim Brown Heavy Woollen Cup for the fifth time in succession by defeating Batley Boys.
The Boys competed well against their NCL Premier Division opponents but the Trojans delivered an efficient performance to win the final.
Will Gledhill scored a brace of tries while Joe Buggle and Luke Haigh got their other scores, with Casey Johnson kicking three conversions and a drop goal to keep the score ticking over against a Batley side for whom Matt Sheridan provided the only response.
“To win it five times on the trot is fantastic, we’re really chuffed,” said Thornhill head coach James Ratcliffe.
“We went about our business really well, and it might not have been pretty to the purist but it was effective and it did the job.
“We knew what a capable side Batley were. The difference was that in their dressing there might have only been one or two who have been in a Heavy Woollen Cup final, and in ours there was just one that hasn’t.
“Sometimes you’ve got to have that experience and we were really disciplined to stay in that middle channel and eventually it paid dividends. The three tries we scored, other than the last one, were all very simple tries through working in the middle of the park.”
Batley made a determined start to the final and could have had a try from the off. Tom Brooke made a break and found Sheridan but he was tackled, before Josh Whitehead was held up over the line on the last tackle.
They had more good field position but couldn’t take advantage of it while Thornhill went close themselves. Danny Ratcliffe chipped the ball over the defence and it hit the post, but the half-back was an inch from getting to the bounce to touch down.
The Trojans continued to press and, after Buggle was held up, the ball was moved left but Will Gledhill couldn’t quite get the pass to brother Jack Gledhill in the corner. Adam Bingham then kicked a 40/20 to put Batley in attack but they couldn’t keep possession.
That allowed Thornhill to finally get the first points in the 27th minute. On the back of a penalty, the ball was shifted left at speed and Ratcliffe combined with Liam Morley to allow Will Gledhill to squeeze into the corner under pressure.
Batley had another spell of pressure but couldn’t make it count as their opponents took a 4-0 lead into the half-time break.
An injury to Ratcliffe looked to be a big blow early in the second period for the Trojans, but they defied his absence to score a few minutes later. Again it was Will Gledhill who got the try, touching down after George Woodcock had offloaded the ball.
Seven minutes after that, the lead was extended further, as Thornhill put the Boys to the sword heading down the Mount Pleasant slope. Jamie Searby went around two defenders before being stopped just short, but the ball was recycled and Buggle was running a good line to get over.
Man of the match Casey Johnson added both conversions, the first impressively from the touchline, to make it 16-0.
Batley were their own enemy at times – on three attacks in a row they dropped the ball. At the fourth time of asking they did finally get over the line, as Sheridan drive over following a penalty and Bingham added the extras.
Thornhill put on more pressure following that Boys’ try though, and Johnson added a drop goal to take the game away before, in the final minute, Jake Wilson made a break and found Haigh in support to wrap up the victory.