Thornhill produce battling performance in Thatto loss

Will Gledhill opened the scoring for Thornhill Trojans but his first minute try was unable to prevent them slipping to defeat at Thatto Heath Crusaders in the National Conference Premier Division last Saturday. Picture: Paul Butterfield
Will Gledhill opened the scoring for Thornhill Trojans but his first minute try was unable to prevent them slipping to defeat at Thatto Heath Crusaders in the National Conference Premier Division last Saturday. Picture: Paul Butterfield

duced a battling performance away in St Helens but were unable to prevent a 26-6 defeat to National Conference Premier Division title challengers Thatto Heath Crusaders.

Thornhill showed encouraging signs as the relegation dog fight enters the home straight.

Despite lacking a number of regular faces, the Trojans reshuffled with a several players starting in unaccustomed positions.

Casey Johnson looked to take play forward for the Trojans from the stand off position and Nick Mitchell stood strong in the full back roll.

Man-of-the-match Zach Johnson was clearly one of the most dangerous players on the field, running hard, strong and without fear into Thatto Heath territory to create space for his team mates.

For most of the game Thornhill were in the search of a victory and it was only a late fade which allowed the hosts to pull clear and register a winning margin that flattered them

Thornhill started well and scored after only a minute. A high kick from Danny Ratcliffe was followed up by Casey Johnson, who collected the ball, passed to Scott Green who in turn sent Will Gledhill diving over for a try out wide. Casey Johnson kicked a brilliant goal from near the touch line.

Thornhill continued to play with enthusiasm but as the half wore on Thatto began to gain a hold on proceedings and were only denied a try when a brilliant last ditch tackle from Mitchell saw them spill the ball.

It was a Thornhill mistake which Thatto Heath capitalised on to score their first try.

The ball went to ground and Thatto Heath flung it at speed along the attacking line and Niall Allen dived over for an unconverted try in the corner.

A dummy from second row Connor Dwyer eventually split the Thornhill defence and he raced through the gap before sending supporting Bobbie Goulding over for a try.

Goulding converted and Thatto led 10-6 at half-time.

The first score of the second half was from a well executed set move as play was moved to winger Owen Scholes from a scrum and he cut inside and sprinted between the posts with Goulding converting.

Thornhill continued to battle well but as the game passed the hour mark it became apparent the Thatto Heath were on course for victory.

The killer blow came when Chris Hull drove for the try line, held off the defenders and managed to plant the ball down, which was a real blow for Thornhill as all their hard work looked to be coming to nothing. Jack Jones converted.

Tempers became a little frayed and following a challenge on Declan Tomlinson, Danny Ratcliffe was sent to the sin bin for speaking out of turn.

Tomlinson was then subject to another harsh challenge and this time the referee sent Matty Norton to the sin bin.

In the final attack, Adam Saunders shrugged off Thornhill’s defence to score an unconverted try which sealed victory.

Thornhill remain third-bottom, a point above Rochdale Mayfield, as they host Egremont Rangers on Saturday.