Thornhill Trojans 34
Methley Royals 30
By Richard Pickering
Thornhill Trojans edged out determined opponents to win a thrilling Pennine League Andrew Bennett Memorial Trophy final at Dewsbury Rams on Monday.
Methley Royals battled to the end and fought back from 34-20 down with 10 minutes left to set up a nervy finale, led by four-try loose forward Lee Starbuck, but the Trojans held on for a deserved win.
Thornhill hit the front after four minutes when after good work by Ben Kendall, Darren Robinson twisted out of a tackle to touch down. Robinson added the goal and he was on target again four minutes later after Jake Wilson bulldozed through three tacklers and handed on to Robinson who raced in for a second try.
Methley’s response was swift as Starbuck and John Hughes drove them deep before Matty Handforth dummied over near the left corner for an unconverted try.
Handforth was again involved after 16 minutes as he broke the defence before handing on for Hughes to charge over for a try which Sam Payne improved.
The Trojans hit back five minutes later as Robinson ducked away from two tackles before his grubber to the right corner saw Johnny Mack pick up for an unconverted try.
Defences then got on top but both packs never gave an inch with terrific efforts typified by both No8s – Thornhill’s Adam Hoyle and Methley’s Adam Biscomb.
Liam Morley went close while Thornhill took a 22-10 lead three minutes before the break when Wilson and Anthony Broadhead combined to send Kendall over for a try which Robinson converted.
Methley cut the deficit six minutes into the second half as man-of-the-match Handforth put Starbuck over between the posts and Payne added the goal.
Four minutes later Methley had Thornhill pinned on their line but a long pass from Handforth was intercepted by Morley who raced away for a super try which Robinson improved for a 12-point lead.
Hoyle had a try chalked off at the right corner but Methley never gave up hope and after Thornhill conceded a penalty for a high tackle, Stuart Biscomb and Jake Turner set up Starbuck to cross for an unconverted try at the right corner.
Stuart Biscomb stretched over the line for a Methley score but it was ruled out for a double movement while 10 minutes from time Thornhill struck to lead 34-20. A grubber kick bounced off a Methley man on his line and Morley juggled before planting the ball down for a try which Robinson improved.
Still Division Three champions Methley refused to buckle and a weaving run saw Handforth find Starbuck for his hat-trick try by the posts, leaving Payne a simple goal.
Four minutes from time Methley drove deep and Starbuck crashed over at the right corner, too far out for the conversion, but Thornhill were in no mood to buckle and they held on to add the cup to their Division Two title.
Thornhill Trojans: Holmes; Mack, Joss Ratcliffe, Walker, Fenton; Robinson, Morley; Hoyle, Jake Ratcliffe, Harris, Kelly, Kendall, Wilson. Subs: Green, S Ratcliffe, Broadhead, Woodcock.
Methley Royals: Briers, Gledhill, Mapals, Payne, Dixon; Handforth, Woolford; A Biscomb, Wilshaw, Astbury, Hughes, S Biscomb, Starbuck. Subs: Jackson, Scott, Turner, Wilshaw.
Referee: Tony Martin.