Sharks edge out Trojans in pulsating Jim Brown final

Shaw Cross Sharks celebrate winning the Heavy Woollen ARL Jim Brown Cup.
Shaw Cross Sharks celebrate winning the Heavy Woollen ARL Jim Brown Cup.

Shaw Cross Sharks scored two tries in the final 10 minutes of a pulsating Jim Brown Cup final to snatch a 24-16 victory from the grasp of Thornhill Trojans on Thursday night.

It was a cracking contest, played at an unrelenting pace, as the two Heavy Woollen amateur giants went at each other hammer and tongs.

Shaw Cross were good value for their 14-4 interval lead but Thornhill battled back superbly after the break, even after they were reduced to 12 men following the 54th minute sending off of Ben Kendall.

Thornhill trailed 14-10 at the time but their 12 men fought back and almost snatched victory.

Scrum-half Ryan Fenton fed Tom Ripley wide on the left but the Trojans centre lost the ball in attempting to get the ball down in the corner, under pressure from three Sharks defenders.

The Trojans attacked again and Fenton gathered a loose ball following a Thornhill kick on the last tackle.

Play moved left and Ripley timed his pass to perfection, sending Adam Bird diving in at the corner.

Joel Gibson added a magnificent touchline conversion and Thornhill led 16-14 with just 14 minutes remaining.

As the rain lashed down, it was the Sharks turn to bounce back as Brandon French was on the end of a passing move to score at the left corner.

The superb Danny Flowers couldn’t add the goal but the Sharks held a slender two-point lead and three minutes from time, Shaw Cross sealed victory when Martyn Holland ran from the base of a scrum and nipped through the defence before gleefully diving over for the match-clinching try, which Flowers improved.

Shaw Cross took an 11th minute lead when Ryan Chalkley crossed on the left and Flowers converted but Thornhill hit back with an Anthony Harris unconverted try.

A quick turn of pace from man-of-the-match Derrell Olpherts saw him race over for the Sharks and Flowers converted before adding a long range penalty goal to put them 14-4 up at the break.

Danny Ratcliffe barged his way over for Thornhill early in the second half and he tagged on the conversion.

As Thornhill looked in the ascendancy, Kendall was sent off for striking and although Thornhill’s 12 men battled bravely, two late tries saw Shaw Cross celebrate a cup double.

Thornhill Trojans: Sam Ratcliffe; Allerton, Ripley, Joss Ratcliffe, Bird; Gibson, Fenton; Kendall, Lowther, Harris, Hickling, Kelly, Danny Ratcliffe. Subs: Stead, Bendikas, Folan, Sarginson.

Shaw Cross Sharks: Olpherts; Gledhill, French, Rogers, Roebuck; Flowers, Holland; Myers, Poaching, Davies, Chalkley, Wilby, Rourke. Subs: Spaven, Burland, Chandler, Hudson.

Referee: Michel Mannifield.