Trojans reach first National Cup final

THORNHILL TROJANS have reached their first BARLA National Cup final following a  hard-fought 30-26 win over East Hull at Eastlands.

It was the the third time the Overthorpe Park side have been in a National Cup semi-final. having previously tasted last-four heartbreak in 1995 and 1998 but in 2016 the Trojans were desperate to make it third time lucky.

Thornhill were in the driving seat early on and looked at ease in the semi-final showdown, going 24-0 up after 22 minutes.

Liam Morley was influential for the Trojans, opening the scoring with a fine try which was converted by Sam Ratcliffe.

And it wasn’t long before Morley went over for his second to extend his side’s advantage. Sam Ratcliffe was once again accurate with the boot.

Speedy winger Mindaugas Bendikas was then in the thick of the action, scoring a try to put the Trojans in a commanding position and Sam Ratcliffe’s successful conversion made it 18-0.

Sam Ratcliffe was having one of his strongest performances of the season to date and got himself a try under the posts before stepping up to convert his touchdown.

Thornhill looked comfortable but a try from East Hull’s Luke Whybrowe planted a seed of doubt in the minds of the Trojans players.

And another try shortly afterwards from Hull’s Jarrod Penros made the game difficult to call.

Clayton McCloud added the extras to both touchdowns. But Easts weren’t finished there and added a third try before the interval courtesy of McCloud who converted his own six-pointer.

Thornhill boss James Ratcliffe was visibly annoyed with the way his side’s commanding lead had shrunk but his half-time team talk had a positive effect on his players.

Sam Ratcliffe went over for his second try shortly after the restart but a difficult conversion was missed by Andrew Bates.

But Bates landed a crucial drop goal which meant East Hull required three scores to win.

The hosts gave it their best shot, however, first going over through McCloud before Stephen Mountain bagged himself a try.

But Thornhill held out in the closing stages and Morley’s late drop goal helped ease the tension.

The Trojans now look forward to playing a tough Myton Warriors side in the final (Saturday, May 29, 2pm) at Post Office Road, Featherstone.

Myton overcame Fryston Warriors 32-30 after extra-time in their semi-final clash.

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