Haigh and Gledhill lead the way as Thornhill seal fine win in Cumbria
Thornhill Trojans made the long trip to Cumbria to take on one of the National Conference League Division Two promotion favourites Askam.
The Trojans were fully aware of the task in hand as the Askam team had started their league campaign with a 38-0 victory at Leigh East but a fantastic team effort saw Thornhill brush aside the challenge.
The Trojans were simply outstanding with the forwards laying the foundations for a 33-10 victory.
The game was preceded by an impeccably observed minutes silence for Thornhill stalwart David Schofield who had sadly passed away the previous day.
In the post-match speeches Thornhill coach James Ratcliffe dedicated the victory to Mr Schofield.
The game was played in constant drizzle and Trojans knew they were going to be in for an almighty forwards battle but they stood toe-to-toe with the powerful Askam pack.
Tom Gledhill and Anthony Harris ran hard and strong, while Andrew Lambert also battled valiantly despite picking up a back injury.
Thornhill man-of-the-match Luke Haigh dominated the ruck and provided the key link between the backs and forwards as he took the Trojans forward.
Danny Ratcliffe and Liam Morley set about unpicking the Askam defence as the Trojans built up a 20-0 interval lead.
The Trojans pressed towards the Askam try line and a brilliant pass from Haigh was gathered by Jack Gledhill, who dived over for an unconverted try in the corner.
Thornhill continued to test Askam and a high kick on the last tackle was collected Jake Wilson and he sent out a pass which put Ryan Fenton over for a try which George Woodcock converted.
Another kick resulted in the next Thornhill try as Danny Ratcliffe placed the ball along the ground and it rebounded off an Askam player. Ratcliffe judged the rebound perfectly to pounce and score, with Woodcock converting.
Jake Wilson then kicked the ball along the ground to perfectly set up Gledhill’s second try of the game.
Leading 20-0 at the interval the Trojans knew they couldn’t get carried away and Askam came out for the second half looking in determined mood.
Askam swiftly passed the ball along the attacking line and the Thornhill defence became over stretched.
Despite protests from Liam Morley that he had been obstructed, second row Kristian Tyson went over for a try which he converted.
Morley put his frustration behind him and quickly gained personal revenge by scoring a try of his own.
Morley took play forward and the Askam defence parted leaving him with far too much space to go over for a try which Sam Ratcliffe converted.
Askam continued to battle and a lofted pass found Dan Sayle out wide and he went over for an unconverted try.
Any fears of a late fight back were banished when Jake Wilson outstretched an arm to plant the ball over the try line. Sam Ratcliffe converted and the Trojans now looked safe.
Danny Ratcliffe slotted over a well placed drop goal to seal a fantastic victory in Cumbria in which every player should be proud of the part they played.
It was Thornhill’s second straight win and they are one of four teams level on four points.
The Trojans welcome Saddleworth Rangers to Overthorpe Park this Saturday with their opponents arriving on the back of a 33-21 victory over Oulton Raiders in their opening league match last week.