Trojans’ late rally proves in vain as Siddal hold on in exciting clash

A Thornhill attacker sees his strong run halted during last Saturday's National Conference League Premier Division game at Siddal. Picture: Bruce Fitzgerald
A Thornhill attacker sees his strong run halted during last Saturday's National Conference League Premier Division game at Siddal. Picture: Bruce Fitzgerald

Thornhill Trojans put up a battling display before slipping to a 22-17 defeat at Siddal in their first away game of the National Conference Premier Division season.

For all their efforts they returned home empty handed and were left to reflect on what might have been.

The Trojans finished the game strongly with Siddal valiantly defending their own try line for long periods but this was all too little too late as a catalogue of errors during the game proved costly.

The Trojans played down the Siddal slope in the first half but it was the home team that looked to be the most dangerous in the opening exchanges.

Siddal looked to have done their homework on Thornhill and opted to constantly attack the same corner of the field.

Eventually, a quick switch in direction of play unlocked Thornhill’s defence as Henry Turner latched onto a pass and danced his way around the last line of defence to score and Gareth Blackburn converted.

Thornhill reshuffled with Zach Johnson and Jack Gledhill making their playing returns having both sat out two match bans and Thornhill began to gain the upper hand.

Thornhill forced Siddal to drop the ball at the re-start and they pressed down the slope with Joel Gibson making a darting run to the corner and went over for a try which George Woodcock converted to level.

Siddal regained the lead when a kick along the ground went into the in goal area and Sam Walsh won the chase to pounce and score an unconverted try.

Tempers began to boil over in the run up to half-time and Declan Tomlinson was involved in an altercation but calm was restored and Siddal led 10-6 at the interval.

Now playing up the slope Thornhill started the second half with purpose as a dangerous kick towards the line rebounded off a post, while there were then telling runs from Jake Wilson and Casey Johnson.

Sam Ratcliffe made a fantastic break to set up a Trojans attack, Zach Johnson drove for the line, stood up in the tackle, held off the defenders and managed to off load the ball to the supporting Casey Johnson, who went over for an unconverted try to level matters again.

Thornhill continued to test the Siddal defence and when the home team had a man sin binned, the visitors took the lead through a well placed drop goal from Joel Gibson.

Thornhill made a complete hash of collecting the ball from the restart and a missed tackle then allowed Siddal to advance and although the move was stopped short, a quick play the ball allowed Sam Walsh to score his second try of the game and Blackburn converted.

Good handling from Siddal then saw space created out wide and Jack Georgiou went over for a try in the corner. Blackburn converted.

Thornhill continued to battle and really tested the Siddal defence in the closing stages.

Ben Kendall charged for the try line and was held short but from the play the ball Will Poching twisted over. Woodcock converted.

Thornhill threw everything at Siddal, which made for a very exiting finale.

First Zach Johnson was held short of the try line. The ball was worked out the wing but Sam Ratcliffe went into touch.

The ball was then worked to the other side of the field but Josh Gearey went into touch.

Thornhill were disappointed when the full time whistle sounded and they are left ninth in the table ahead of Saturday’s trip to Egremont Rangers.