Thornhill Trojans slipped to a 24-8 defeat away to Fryston Warriors in a heated BARLA National Cup semi-final last Friday.
The 17th minute dismissal of Scott Dyson for an alleged head butt proved to be too big of a handicap for the Trojans to cope with.
Thornhill desperately lacked Luke Haigh’s presence on the field as he missed the game due to injury and Dyson’s sending-off meant the Trojans had no real leader to guide them around the field.
Man-of-the-match Jake Wilson tried admirably to take the Trojans forward with some great running but this wasn’t to be Thornhill’s evening and at full time they were second best.
Both the Trojans and the match officials were caught up in traffic on the M62, delaying the 6.30pm kick-off by 15 minutes.
When the game finally got underway the hosts caught Thornhill cold, scoring two tries in the opening six minutes.
Fryston had a try disallowed In the opening minute after Thornhill had made a mess of trying to clear a long kick.
The ball went unattended in the in-goal area but to Thornhill’s relief Fryston knocked on.
Fryston maintained the early pressure and their key player was stand-off Paul Handforth.
Fryston broke clear and a short pass found Handforth, who raced over for an unconverted try.
Thornhill’s cause was made that much more difficult with the fifth minute sin-binning of Ben Kendall for holding down.
With Thornhill down to 12 men, Fryston looked to work the overlap when centre Wayne McHugh picked out winger Andy Matthews, who ran onto the pass and barged over in the corner for an unconverted try.
Thornhill responded to their large following of supporters by scoring a well taken try to restore confidence.
James Craven made a wonderful break up the field and sent Sam Ratcliffe charging over for an unconverted try in the corner.
Tempers began to boil over when Fryston hooker Jack Lee was sin-binned for dumping a Thornhill player.
Order was momentarily restored but then there was another altercation and the referee produced a red card to dismiss Dyson for an alleged head butt.
The referee’s patience was further tested and Fryston were put on a team warning for persistent holding down.
Lee received his second yellow card of the game when he was guilty of a high tackle but Fryston held onto their 8-4 lead until half-time.
From the restart Fryson scored two tries to virtually put them through to the final.
McHugh ran onto a short pass to step over for a try and Arron Dobek converted.
A kick on the last tackle then caught Thornhill out. The ball bounced virtually on the try line and bamboozled the Trojans defence and James Cryer grabbed the ball to touch down for an unconverted try.
As the clock ticked towards full time, the Trojans continued to battle and Jake Wilson looked to have scored but he lost the ball over the try line.
Luke Carter made a drive for the try line and from the play the ball Wilson found an opening and crossed for a try.
Thornhill were conscious of the time and a rushed goal attempt from Sam Ratcliffe sailed off target.
But the late flurry from Thornhill was all for nothing and in the final moment of the game Lee went over for a try to the side of the posts. McHugh converted and Fryston were through to the final.