THORNHILL Trojans are continuing to find their feet in the higher level of the Pennine League Premier Division and they were dealt a lesson in handling as Wibsey Warriors ran out 40-22 winners at Overthorpe Park last Saturday.
Despite defeat Thornhill put in a sterling effort as they took further steps along the learning curve.
Man-of-the-match Scott Woodcock produced some storming runs with solid support from Rob Kelly.
Wibsey took the lead after five minutes when stand-off Ryan Smith broke from a scrum and raced half the length of the field to score with Harry Hall adding the conversion.
Thornhill recovered and Joe Naidole took play close to the line before Kelly charged over and Sam Ratcliffe converted.
Thornhill continued to press and took the lead when Anthony Broadhead forced his way over the line and Sam Ratcliffe again added the goal.
Andy Carman and Ryan Smith responded with tries for the visitors and Hall’s two conversions put Wibsey 18-12 ahead at half-time.
Carman broke early in the second half to score his second and Hall again converted.
Woodcock helped Thornhill rally with some storming runs and after Jake Wilson drove play close, Woodcopck barged over from the play-the-ball and Sam Ratcliffe added the goal to give the Trojans real hope.
Ryan Smith dealt a body blow to the Trojans when he scooted over for a try, despite claims he hadn’t grounded correctly.
Joss Ratcliffe was bundled into touch short of the line as Thornhill continued to battle on before Wibsey began to move clear with Nick Walker twisting over for a Hall converted try.
Brilliant handling created an overlap for Jimmy Rodger to score and Hall again converted.
Wibsey had Alex Stephens sin-binned for holding down late on and Jake Wilson took full advantage to cross for the home side’s fourth try.
Sam Ratcliffe’s conversion attempt hit the outside of a post.
Thornhill can be commended for their efforts and a first Premier Division will not be far away on this evidence.
The Trojans face another stern test on Saturday when they travel to champions Drighlington, kick off 2.30pm.
Drig have not made the best of starts to their title defence and having drawn 16-16 in their opening game against Hunslet Old Boys, before they were edged out 22-20 at Sharlston last week.
Batley Boys lead the way in Division One after impressive back-to-back victories having moved to the Pennine from the Yorkshire League during the summer.
They overcame Sharlston Rovers A 38-34 in their opening match and followed it up with another hard-fought win at Upton last Saturday, when they edged out the home side 16-12.
The Boys play their first home game this Saturday when they welcome local rivals Birkenshaw to Halifax Road.
It should be a good game as Birkenshaw racked up a 56-28 opening day win over Newsome Panthers but were then edged out 14-12 at home to Morley Borough last Saturday.
Wyke have made an impressive start in Division Two with two victories.
They overcame Emley Moor 30-24 in their first match and then defeated Brotherton Bulldogs 31-12 last Saturday and they are joint top with West Craven Warriors.
Wyke will be aiming for a hat-trick of victories this Saturday when they travel to Clayton, who are playing their first game.
Shaw Cross Sharks are another side to have entered the Pennine League this time and begin their Division Three programme on Saturday when they entertain Pontefract Social, who have lost their opening two matches.
Thornhill Trojans A play their first game in Division Four when they welcome Kellingley Welfare to Overthorpe Park.
Kellingley have won their opening two games, while Thornhill are making a big step up having won all 16 matches on thir way to clinching the Division Seven title last season.
Hanging Heaton have made an excellent start to life in Division Five, winning both their opening games.
Heaton were moved up two divisions in the Pennine League re-structure but they overcame Meltham 26-16 in their opening game.
Windle, Berry, J Smith and Anthony Fallas (two) were the Hanging Heaton try scorers, with D Berry adding three goals, while Reece Fallas was man-of-the-match.
Heaton followed that up with an emphatic 72-6 victory over Burley Lions at Bywell Fields last Saturday with the Fallas brothers again among the try scorers.
Reece crossed for a brace but was outdone by Anthony, who ran in a hat-trick.
Danny Windle also bagged three, with Alan Palmer (two), Chris Aked and Jake Shaw also crossing as Heaton racked up the points.
Shaw also picked up man-of-the-match in his first game for the club.
Hanging Heaton travel to Newsome Panthers A this Saturday as the home side play their first game.
Dewsbury Moor A and Wyke A kick-start their Division Seven campaigns this week and both begin with home games.
Moor welcome Greetland All Rounders A to Heckmonwike Road, while Wyke host Underbank Rangers A.