Thornhill Trojans lifted the Heavy Woollen ARL Jim Brown Cup for a third successive season as they defeated old rivals Shaw Cross Sharks 22-10 at Mount Pleasant last Thursday.
It was a cracking contest in which defences were on top for much of the game and Shaw Cross were very much in contention as they trailed 14-10 going into the final 10 minutes.
Luke Carter raced through a gap and despite Sharks claims of a forward pass was allowed to race down the slope for a crucial 70th minute try.
An injury time try from full-back James Craven capped Thornhill’s hat-trick of wins, to the delight of their large and vociferous support, although the final scoreline was somewhat harsh on Shaw Cross, who had given their all in a tough and uncompromising game.
Shaw Cross made a bright start, playing down the slope, and took a sixth minute lead.
Paul March launched a huge up and under which was spilled in front of his own posts by Craven.
From the resulting attack, Matthew Tebb darted over from acting half-back and Casey Johnson tagged on the conversion.
Sharks pressed again but a wild pass close to the line went into touch and the chance went begging.
From Thornhill’s first real attack, they hit back as they moved play quickly right and George Woodcock dived in at the corner, although it was too wide out for Danny Ratcliffe to convert.
Shaw Cross were dealt a blow midway through the first half when Brandon French was sin-binned for interference at the play the ball which led to a brief dust up.
Two minutes before French was due to return, Thornhill broke upfield to score and take a lead they would never relinquish.
Joss Ratcliffe broke up the left touchline and slipped a pass inside to Danny Ratcliffe, who raced 60 metres up the slope unopposed to score between the posts and give himself a simple conversion.
Thornhill rumbled back upfield and a short pass on the last tackle saw centre Will Gledhill force his way over and plant the ball down, but Danny Ratcliffe was unable to tag on the goal..
Shaw Cross replied with a try two minutes before half-time as Ash Lindsay was hit by a high tackle on the Trojans try line.
Brandon Warrior showed neat footwork as he attempted to find a way through and when the Sharks moved right, French forced his way over for an unconverted try to reduce the arrears to 14-10 at the break.
Three minutes into the second half both sides were reduced to 12 men when Sam Ratcliffe clattered Ben Spaven with a high tackle and both men were sin-binned after the Sharks centre retaliated.
Chances were at a premium throughout the second half, although Johnson and Lindsay produced terrific stints for Shaw Cross, while Danny Ratcliffe dictated play for the Trojans.
Shaw Cross defence did well to thwart Thornhill attacks down the slope and the Sharks almost drew level when March looked to have twisted out of a tackle to plant the ball over the line but was judged to have knocked on.
March was immediately forced out of the action and the Sharks played the final 13 minutes with two of their talented Under-18s players on the field.
Carter grabbed a decisive Thornhill try 10 minutes from time, although Shaw Cross appealed the pass which sent him through a gap was forward.
Shaw Cross dropped the ball on halfway and Craven capitalised to race away to score wide on the left and ensure Thornhill celebrated a double trophy success.