Thornhill Trojans gave Danny Ratcliffe a winning start to life as head coach of the club as they stunned Thatto Heath Crusaders to seal a 22-16 victory in the Coral Challenge Cup first round last Saturday.
Thatto Heath arrived in Overthorpe Park having done the league double over the Trojans last season and helped to ensure their ultimate relegation from the Premier Division.
Thatto were also last season’s Grand Final runners-up, so this win was a win for the Trojans to savour when the full time whistle sounded.
Thornhill’s man-of-the-match was loose forward Casey Johnson, although there were also great performances from Nick Mitchell, Liam Morley and Will Gledhill.
The first try of the game was created by a piece of Morley magic as he stepped away just inside Thornhill’s half and broke clear before sending out a pass which found the supporting Rye Ward for the youngster to sprint clear to score in the corner.
Morley left the field to go in the blood bin to have a head wound attended to and Jordan Lowther came on in his place.
The fast paced opening continued as Thatto Heath responded with a try of their own.
Quick hands saw the ball travel to the bottom side of the field and Nathan Taylor took the final pass to go over for an unconverted try in the corner.
With Thornhill pressing the Thatto try line, Tebb picked up the ball from acting half-back, sold a dummy and nipped over between the posts for try. Casey Johnson converted.
Thatto Heath then had a try disallowed when the referee spotted a knock on over the try line. Sean Leicester threw the ball away in frustration and was shown a yellow card.
Tempers momentarily boiled over in the run up to half-time following a high tackle.
Thatto Heath were awarded the resultant penalty and attacked the Thornhill’s line and the defence gave Jack Jones too much space and he reached out to plant the ball down between the posts. Sean Quinn converted to level the scores at 10-10.
Thornhill scored two quick tries after the re-start which put them in a commanding position.
Thatto Heath lost the ball from the kick off and Will Gledhill took play forward.
The ball was worked out to Sam Ratcliffe who scored an unconverted try in the corner.
Nick Mitchell then made a superb break and sent out a bewildering pass which picked out Ross Roebuck on the wing and he sprinted away to score a try which Casey Johnson converted to put Thornhill 20-10 ahead.
Thatto Heath upped the tempo and Sean Leicester took the ball out on the wing and beat a Thornhill defender to score a try in the corner which Shaun Quinn converted.
Thatto Heath were penalised for a high tackle and then spoke out of turn so were marched back 10 metres which allowed Johnson to kick the goal.
After a lengthy period of stoppage time the referee blew for full-time as Thornhill celebrated their progress to the second round, where they will host Normanton Knights over the weekend of January 25 and 26.