Thornhill Trojans booked their place in the XAMAX BARLA National Cup quarter-finals by grinding out a 22-14 victory over a well drilled West Bowling last Saturday.
The Bradford team were always in the hunt and it was only a 73rd-minute try from Thornhill winger Sam Ratcliffe which gave the Trojans breathing space.
It was a vastly changed Thornhill team that took to the field for this game with Andrew Bates and Joe Waters taking the opportunity for a run out.
There were also starts for Luke Carter, George Woodcock and Scott Carter.
Adam Johnson marked his return to the team with two tries and there was an excellent showing from second rower Dale Brook, who was named man of the match.
The first half was low key and ended 4-4 after Luke Haigh’s excellent cut out pass allowed Johnson to beat his opposite number to plunge over for a try in the corner.
Bowling replied though a Danny Gregory breakaway try to leave it all square.
Thornhill emerged from the interval and scored almost from the restart.
Dale Brook was held up on his back and after Thornhill were awarded a penalty, Liam Morley nipped over from acting half back. Sam Ratcliffe converted.
The best try came when Johnson made an initial break and the ball was moved to Jake Wilson. The final pass picked out George Woodcock who ran onto the ball at speed to go over for an unconverted try.
More good handling put Johnson over for Thornhill’s fourth try but West Bowling had plenty of fight left in them.
A passing move ended with Liam Coe scoring an unconverted try and the Bradford side then had a try chalked off when the referee judged a player was held on his back.
Bowling’s subsequent protests resulted in a member of their coaching staff receiving a red card.
Thornhill then grabbed the match clinching try as Johnson was instrumental in making good ground.
Danny Ratcliffe’s pass found Sam Ratcliffe out on the touchline and the winger charged over in the corner despite the presence of several West Bowling defenders.
There were calls that Ratcliffe was in touch but the referee awarded the unconverted try.
In the final minute, a Thornhill pass was intercepted and Danny Gregory raced away for his second try of the game. Liam Coe converted and the referee blew for full time.
Thornhill now face a tough trip to Egremont in the BARLA National Cup quarter-final on Saturday March 26, kick-off 2pm.
The other last eight ties see Upton at home to East Hull, Thatto Heath entertaining the winners of Oldham St Annes against Myton, with Fryston hosting Mirfield Stags.