Oldham St Annes 16-23 Thornhill Trojans

In was on a rainy afternoon in Oldham that Thornhill Trojans kicked off their 2006/07 Premier Division campaign. Rain fell persistently throughout this game making handling difficult for both teams. However, after a steady first half Thornhill really hit form in the second half to take the all important league points.

The first half was really an exhibition of solid defensive work from Thornhill with St.Annes being alert enough to capitalise on two lapses to score tries.

St.Annes first try came when the slippery conditions caught out Thornhill full back Craig Holmes. With play on the last tackle St.Annes chipped forward towards the post. Holmes appeared to have the situation covered but then miss cued his clearance kick. The wet ball then trickled dangerously into the in goal area between the posts. Grant Bithell had given chase and pounced on the ball to score the try. Keil Lancashire converted.

The next lapse on Thornhill's part was from a penalty situation. Oldham ran the ball and caught the Thornhill defence asleep. Dave Sweeny picked up the ball and ran through a gap a mile wide in the Thornhill defence to race over for an unconverted try.

But although they trailed 10-0 at the interval it had been a creditable performance from the Trojans in the opening 40 minutes. The Trojans had fluffed a number of scoring opportunities as the rainy conditions had got the better of them.

Shane Davies at one point came agonising close to scoring but the ball slipped out of his grasp as he charged over the try line. Chris Walker also looked to have score when he raced onto a kick from Scott Dyson. The referee over ruled the try as he said Walker was off side.

But in the second half the Trojans really did come to life. The catalyst of this revival was man of the match Liam Morley. Morley really did flourish in the second half and certainly gave the Trojans more go forward with the ball. There was an equally enthusiastic performance from hooker Anthony Broadhead whose solid defence was matched with some eager attacking play.

It was more or less straight from the restart that the Trojans scored their first try. Liam Morley went on a searching run and took play within striking distance of the try line. From a quick play the ball Anthony Broadhead flung the ball to his right and sent Scott Dyson charging over for a try between the posts. Craig Holmes converted.

The momentum was maintained by Thornhill and Matthew Roberts came close but spilled the ball over the line.

Further pressure from Thornhill, with Vinny Johnson running hard and direct, kept St.Annes on the back foot. Then with play on the St.Annes line Anthony Broadhead showed great strength to force his way over for a try between the posts. Holmes converted to put Thornhill in the lead.

By now Thornhill were really buzzing and it was the in form Liam Morley who once again prized open the St.Annes defence when he went on a searching run. Morley's run took play out towards the wing where his pass found Chris Walker. Walker took the pass and dived over for an unconverted try in the corner.

As a wake up call Thornhill were caught out by a wonderful dummy and Grant Bithell went over for a try which Lancashire converted. Despite this set back Thornhill continued to attack the Oldham half of the field. The ball was flung at pace along the attacking line. The all important pass was provided by Scott Redgwick when he found Andrew Peacock to go over for a try in the corner. Holmes converted.

With a few minutes left to play Scott Dyson put over a drop goal to put the result beyond doubt and complete a fine victory for the Trojans. The win means Thornhill now move onto minus two league points.

Report by Andrew Byram

MATCH FACTS

Oldham St.Annes 16

(Gold & Green)

1) Gary Rafferty
2) Lee Forsyth
3) Martin Ryan
4) Dane English5) Daniel Early
6) Keil Lancashire 2 Goals
7) Grant Bithell 2 Tries
8) Jason Akeroyd
9) Andrew Wallace
10) Peter Deakin
11) Chris Conway
12) David Harris
13) David Sweeney 1 Try

Subs:
14) Ryan Harley
15) Kevin Collins
16) John Doherty
17) Kyle Harley

Thornhill Trojans 23

(White with red & blue trim)

1) Craig Holmes 3 Goals
2) Chris Walker 1 Try
3) Rob Copley
4) Scott Redgwick
5) Andrew Peacock 1 Try
6) Scott Dyson 1 Try & 1 Drop Goal
7) Liam Morley
8) Ian Rayner
9) Anthony Broadhead 1 Try
10) Rob Carruthers
11) Shane Davies
12) Lee Schofield
13) Matthew Roberts

Subs:
14) Daniel Annakin
15) Vinny Johnson
16) Lee Smith
17) Keiron Talbot (NOT USED)

Referee – Steve Taylor (Hull)
Man of the match – Andrew Wallace (St.Annes) Liam Morley (Trojans)

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