Trojans squander valuable lead in play-off semi-final

THORNHILL TROJANS’ hopes of back-to-back promotions have come to an end following an agonising 18-14 defeat to Blackbrook in the National Conference League Division Two play-off semi-final.

The Trojans dominated the encounter for over an hour before they let their lead slip in the dying minutes of the game.

In a heated match-up Thornhill took the lead through Ben Kendall, who surged onto the ball and held off several Blackbrook defenders on his way to the tryline in the 25th minute.

George Woodcock stepped up to add the extras and Thornhill were looking comfortable with an early 6-0 lead.

Blackbrook came back into the game however, determined to make a fist of the semi-final.

As the hosts put pressure on the Trojans’ defence the Overthorpe Park side received a team warning from the referee for interference at play the ball.

But just short of half-time Liam Morley went on a solo run and unlocked the hosts’ defence. As Blackbrook finally closed his run down Morley kicked forward, but the ball was forced dead to prevent Thornhill extending their lead further.

In the second period Thornhill pushed for another try and went close through George Stott, who failed to latch onto a high kick and the touchdown went begging.

But a Woodcock penalty goal shortly afterwards did edge the visitors further in front.

And Thornhill looked like they had won the game when Jake Wilson touched down at the side of the posts.

Woodcock landed the conversion and the Trojans found themselves 14-0 ahead with just 10 minutes left on the clock.

But immediately from the restart Blackbrook scored a try through Jordan Darwin and that four-pointer was followed by a try from Scott Davidson.

Aaron Hewitt converted and Thornhill looked nervous as the final whistle approached.

In-form Blackbrook threw everything they could at the Trojans’ defence and their persistence paid off when, deep inside stoppage time, Greg Hale won the match for his side.

The Trojans were left stunned by the Blackbrook comeback as their season ended in dramatic circumstances

Thornhill will have to wait at least another 12 months to earn promotion to NCL Division One.

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