Thornhill Trojans produced a brilliant team performance to register a 31-16 victory away to Featherstone Lions, which maintains their challenge at the top of National Conference Division One.
The Trojans never looked like they were going to lose but credit must go to the Featherstone team which battled to the end.
The Trojans welcomed back winger Jack Gledhill after being out for over a year with a shoulder injury. There was also a start for Nick Mitchell and he grabbed the opportunity by scoring a glorious try.
Man-of-the-match Joel Gibson was in top form scoring two tries, while his in play runs caused Featherstone problems.
Thornhill made a lively start and a chip to the corner from Danny Ratcliffe looked promising but George Woodcock couldn’t ground the ball.
The Trojans lively opening was stifled when Jake Wilson was sin binned for a dangerous tackle.
Featherstone capitalised on their extra man advantage and were twice held over the try line by a resolute Thornhill defence.
Eventually Featherstone’s pressure paid off as they broke from a scrum in Thornhill’s half and Jake Perkins finished the move with an unconverted try.
This score was quickly cancelled out with a sensational long range try from Gibson.
The Thornhill full back broke clear from 70 metres out and strode away to dive over for a try between the posts which he converted.
Another Thornhill break inspired by Gibson again had Featherstone back pedalling. He sprinted clear and this time put the supporting Mitchell away for his first try for the Thornhill senior team. Gibson converted.
The next Thornhill raid broke down when Jack Gledhill was ruled to have stepped in touch.
Tempers boiled over as players looked to settle their differences. Featherstone’s Ben Brailsford was send to the sin and the referee put both sides on a team warning.
Play resumed and Jake Wilson stole the ball in a one on one tackle. This caught Featherstone out and their defence was left flat footed. Wilson quickly passed to Danny Ratcliffe who was completely unmarked and strolled over the line to touch down between the posts. Gibson converted and the Trojans lead 18-4 at the interval.
Featherstone proved they were still in the hunt when they scored shortly after the restart.
Danny Gilbert scooted for the try line and burrowed under a pile of defenders to score with Ian Jackson converting.
The turning point in the game appeared to be a well timed drop goal from Gibson which eased the pressure on Thornhill and allowed the visitors to push on and secure the victory.
The ball was flung along the attacking line at speed. James Craven finished the move by crossing for a try in the corner. Gibson converted from out on the touchline in front of the Trojans fans.
The final Thornhill try was out of the top drawer as a set move was executed at speed right in front of the Featherstone posts.
The move ended with Liam Morley putting Gibson over for a try between the posts and he converted.
Featherstone scored a late try through Dean Gamble which Jackson converted but this was nothing more than a consolation score in a very impressive Thornhill victory which leaves them level at the top of the table on 16 points with Lock Lane ahead of Saturday’s clash with Ince Rose Bridge in Overthorpe Park.