Thornhill Trojans A produced a dramatic late comeback to defeat Dewsbury Moor Maroons 24-18 and retain the Heavy Woollen ARL John Kane Cup at Tetley’s Stadium last Thursday.
It was an ill tempered game which saw three sin-binnings and a red card but it was the Trojans who kept their cool late on as they fought back from 18-10 down to claim victory.
The early stages were littered by a number of penalties, which disrupted the tempo of the game and Trojans full-back Brad Llewellyn was first to see a yellow card following a dangerous lift in a tackle.
Moments before Llewellyn was due to return, the Maroons went ahead as Jordan McNally kicked through and the ball rebounded off a Trojans defender with McNally alert to ground the ball over the line.
Max Vernon was unable to add the goal and this was to prove a key factor in the outcome as Dewsbury Moor were only able to convert one of their four tries.
Thornhill hit back after being restored to 13 players as Will Poching was held in front of the posts but they moved play wide and Declan Tomlinson had too much power from close range, carrying three defenders over the try line to score and he converted.
Moor were given a good attacking opportunity as Thornhill knocked on close to their line following a kick through and Vernon produced a lovely dummy to race through a gap and over for a try wide on the right.
Vernon was unable to convert but Moor held a slender 8-6 lead at half-time.
Things improved further for the Maroons as they grabbed a third try after 48 minutes when Vernon burrowed over from close range and managed to get the ball down under a pile of bodies.
Bobby Canavan took over the kicking duties but was again off target.
Moor looked to have grabbed a decisive try when the impressive Vernon produced a lovely inside pass to send Canavan through and he held off the defence to score at the side of the posts.
McNally became Moor’s third goal kicker on the night and slotted over the simple conversion as the Maroons led 18-6.
Moor were dealt a blow when Chris Mortimer was sin-binned for back chat and the Trojans took full advantage.
They moved play left and created a gap for winger Josh Grearey to force his way over in the corner but Tomlinson’s conversion attempt drifted wide.
Thornhill piled on the pressure and Scott Green looked to have scored when he ducked under a tackle and appeared to have grounded next to the posts but referee Simon Ellis was superbly placed and judged he had knocked on.
Liam Conway did well to hack a dangerous Tomlinson kick dead under pressure from Trojans winger Declan Kay.
Thornhill mounted another attack from the drop out and another fierce drive from Tomlinson saw him force his way over to score at the side of the posts to give himself a simple conversion, which reduced the deficit to two points.
Tomlinson almost put Thornhill ahead when he once more drove for the line and it took five Dewsbury Moor defenders to hold him up.
Moor were penalised for offside at the play-the-ball and Tomlinson slotted over the goal from in front of the posts to level matters after 75 minutes.
In a dramatic finale, Poching broke through and raced away but was brilliantly tackled by Elliot Sheard, who was then judged to have held the Trojans hooker down for too long and was sin-binned.
Tomlinson scuffed his penalty attempt wide and it appeared the game was heading for golden point extra time.
With just two minutes remaining, Trojans stand off Scott Green was judged to have been taken out off the ball and Tomlinson made no mistake with the penalty to edge Thornhill in front.
Tomlinson looked to have slotted over an 80th minute drop goal but as the Trojans players celebrated, referee Ellis waved it away.
Deep into stoppage time, McNally was penalised and then shown a red card for disputing the decision.
Thornhill moved play quickly left on the back of the penalty and created a huge overlap against the 11 man defence which allowed Johnny Mack to dive in at the corner.
As Tomlinson was announced man-of-the-match, he struck his conversion attempt wide with the last kick of the game but Thornhill celebrated victory and the first leg of back-to-back double cup victories.
Dewsbury Moor: Vernon; Conway, Harvey, E Sheard, Ashton; B Samme, McNally; Gavaghan, Brook, Barrett, Canavan, Mortimer, S Sheard. Subs: Beverley, Walker, Greenwood, Scriven.
Tries: McNally (23), Vernon (35, 48), Canavan (54).
Goals: Vernon (0/2), Canavan (0/1), McNally (1/1).
Thornhill Trojans A: Llewellyn; Kaye, Mack, Wilson, Grearey; S Green, Milner; Hellings, Poching, Hickling, L Green, Clough, Tomlinson. Subs: Morley, Sharp, McHendry, Teasdale.
Tries: Tomlinson (27, 70), Grearey (58), Mack (80).
Goals: Tomlinson (4/7).
Referee: Simon Ellis.