A late try from winger Joss Ratcliffe enabled Thornhill Trojans to pull off a remarkable 14-12 victory over Oulton Raiders and shake off their recent poor form in National Conference League Division Two.
This was a real backs to the wall performance from the Trojans as they had four players sin-binned during this game.
Although Joss Ratcliffe took all the plaudits for his match winning try there were also top performances from man-of-the-match James Craven and second rower George Stott.
A heavy downpour prior to kick off cleared to ensure the game was played in very slippery conditions.
There were one or two flare ups as tempers boiled over in the close battle.
A Thornhill attack saw Jake Wilson give chase and his momentum saw him push an Oulton player over the pitch barrier and after an altercation he was sin-binned.
It was while Thornhill were down to 12 men that Oulton drew first blood.
With their extra man advantage Oulton defied the slippery conditions to throw the ball around.
Josh Lancaster ran onto the pass and crashed over for the opening try. Kieran Walpole converted.
Oulton continued to test Thornhill and they looked to have the visitors on the rack when more good handling saw the ball moved wide to Matt Stableford, who powered over at the side of the posts. Walpole converted.
Thornhill’s prospects didn’t look too good and the Trojans looked to be heading for another defeat.
The spark they needed was provided by Liam Morley, who picked up the ball from acting half back, sold a brilliant dummy and nipped over at the side of the posts. George Woodcock converted.
Just before the referee blew for half-time the Trojans were again reduced to 12 men after they were put on a team warning for ball stealing and the referee made an example of Wilson and showed him his second yellow card of the half.
The Trojans made a lively start to the second half as Will Poaching made an early dash for the try line but was held up.
Thornhill continued to test the defence and Josh Clough went close but the persistence paid off when Poaching went over for an unconverted try.
Tempers boiled over again and Oulton’s Blake Broadbent and Thornhill’s Sam Ratcliffe were sent to the sin bin for their involvement in a fracas.
Tempers continued to be fraught and at one point Thornhill’s Scott Dyson laid poleaxed on the ground as a result of an off the ball challenge.
The referee decided to intervene in a later challenge and Luke Carter was sent to the sin bin for a shoulder charge, reducing Thornhill to 11 players against Oulton’s 12.
Thornhill failed to let this dampen their fighting spirit. Scott Dyson started a brilliant attacking move. The ball was worked to Will Gledhill who sent out the final pass to Joss Ratcliffe and he charged over in the corner for the match winning try.
The goal was missed but it didn’t matter as Thornhill had pulled off a magnificent victory on their travels.
The Trojans entertain Millom in their next game on Saturday June 3.