Craven leads the way as Thornhill reach National Cup quarter-final
Thornhill Trojans continued their defence of the BARLA National Cup with a fantastic 38-18 victory away to Thatto Heath Crusaders last Saturday.
Thatto Heath’s pitch failed an inspection on Friday afternoon so the fixture was switched to Pilkington Recs 4G pitch at Ruskin Park.
Spurred on by their fantastic travelling support, Thornhill weathered an early onslaught from Thatto Heath to take control of the game and set up a quarter-final showdown with Upton on Saturday April 15.
Trojans man-of-the-match was full-back James Craven, who gave a fine exhibition of attacking rugby to score two tries.
There were also impressive performances from the centre – wing pairing of Ryan Fenton and Jack Gledhill.
The Trojans also gave a debut to Andrew Lambert, who joined in the close season from Meltham All Blacks.
The early exchanges were marred by a number of high tackles which caused tempers to boil over and Thatto Heath scored the opening try when second row Leon Tatlock broke clear from half way and sold a wonderful dummy to score a try which Shaun Quinn converted.
Tempers again boiled over as two separate fights broke out with Thornhill’s Tom Gledhill and Thatto Heath’s Liam Quinn sin-binned.
Shaun Quinn’s penalty extended Thatto’s lead before Thornhill hit back.
A penalty gave them good field position and Craven ran onto a pass and dived over for a try which George Woodcock converted.
Thornhill were back on attack after another penalty and Luke Haigh darted over for a try, which Woodock improved.
Ryan Fenton then powered over for an unconverted try as the Trojans led 16-8 at half-time.
Thatto Heath danger man Tatlock scored an unconverted try in the corner early in the second half and the home side went ahead when Thornhill made a hash of dealing with a dangerous kick and Liam Quinn pounced to score between the posts. Shaun Quinn converted.
Thornhill cut loose in the final quarter as Jack Gledhill broke down the wing before sending supporting Danny Ratcliffe between the posts with Woodcock converting.
Sam Ratcliffe cut inside to open up the defence and race between the posts with Woodcock again converting before Craven showed his class, sprinting away for his second try.
On the stroke of full-time, the ball was worked along the attacking line by Thorhill. Danny Ratcliffe flipped the ball into the path of Tom Gledhill, who went over for a try.
Woodcock converted to round off a fantastic win for Thornhill on their travels.
Thornhill will switch their attentions to the National Conference League on Saturday as they welcome Wigan St Judes to Overthorpe Park for their opening Division Two game of the season (kick off 2.30pm).