An appalling effort on defence resulted in the Trojans first defeat in Overthorpe Park since last October. At time the efforts on defence were embarrassing to watch as a combination of missed tackles and a nonexistent defensive line gifted Leigh Miners with a host of scoring opportunities. The visiting Leigh Miners team took their chances and with some good support play punished the Trojans for their poor efforts of defence to record a convincing victory.
At half time Thornhill trailed 18-4 and looked a beaten side. However, a mini revival ensued from the Trojans in the second half and ensured this turned out into an entertaining game. One of the keys to this revival seemed to be the introduction of substitute Vinny Johnson who added some much needed urgency into the attacking play of the Trojans. Johnson simply wouldn't allow his team mates to let their heads drop and urged them on. This added urgency resulted in the visitors lead being cut to eight points at one stage and it looked as though the Trojans were in with a chance.
But when Leigh Miners' centre John Woods dashed in for a quick second half brace of tries to complete his hat-trick the Trojans fate was sealed.
As well as the efforts of Vinny Johnson another of Thornhill's substitutes Anthony Broadhead came out of this defeat with credit for his efforts. Broadhead looked good of attack as he looked to power his way through the Leigh Miners defence and stood solid on defence.
Man of the match Richard Pachniuk also caused Leigh Miners problems with some shrewd play from acting half. Lee Schofield also worked tirelessly in the second row in what at times appeared to be a lost cause.
It was only seconds into the game that Thornhill's defensive frailties were exposed when second rower David Patterson cut inside, sold a dummy and darted over for a try which David Radley converted.
Patterson then scored his second try when Leigh Miners combined well as a team to take play towards the Thornhill try line. With the line within striking distance Patterson showed great strength to shrug off one Thornhill defender and then for good measure take a further two Trojan players over the line with him. David Radley converted.
A flowing passing move which covered the length of the field was ended by John Woods. David Radley converted to leave Thornhill with a mountain to climb.
The sin binning of Leigh Miners' Aaron Gorton for sin binning did help the Trojans cause. When Thornhill were awarded a penalty close to the try line, quick thinking by Jason Firth resulted in the Trojans first try. As the Leigh Miners players were busy arranging themselves on their own try line Firth took a quick tap and passed to his right to put Craig Holmes over for an unconverted try in the corner.
Early in the second half a series of missed tackles from Thornhill ensured that Firth's enterprise was soon cancelled out as Leigh Miners broke away down the middle of the field. Adam Hickson punished this hapless defending with a try which David Radley converted.
But then Thornhill suddenly came to life again. A searching kick from Scott Dyson was chased by Johnny Campbell. When Dyson's kick didn't make touch Campbell picked it up, raced towards the try line and then passed inside to put Anthony Broadhead over for a try. Despite protests from Leigh Miners the try stood and Craig Holmes converted. Adam Hickson was considered to have protested too much and was sent to the sin bin by the referee.
With an extra man advantage Thornhill once again raised their game. Straight from a scrum down near to the half way line a Scott Dyson pass found Chris Walker. Walker set off at terrific pace to cover half the length of the field to score a try. Craig Holmes converted.
But just as Thornhill were looking to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat John Woods intervened to spoil the party. A kick on the last tackle came down near to the Thornhill try line. Woods leapt the highest to collect the ball and touch down for an unconverted try.
A Thornhill pass was then intercepted and Woods raced over half the length of the field to complete his hat trick. David Radley converted.
A kick to the corner was then pounced on by Paul Wingfield who went over for a try in the corner.
Down but not out the Trojans had once last flurry and a Scott Dyson dummy created space to find Scott Redgwick who in turn put Johnny Campbell over for an unconverted try in the corner.
With lessons to be learned on defence this really was a case of back to the drawing board for Trojans as they prepare for next weeks Grand Final rematch against Oulton Raiders.
Report by Andrew Byram
Thornhill Trojans 20
(Maroon & White)
1) Craig Holmes 1 Try & 2 Goals
2) Johnny Campbell 1 Try
3) Scott Redgwick
4) Jason Firth
5) Chris Walker 1 Try
6) Scott Dyson
7) Liam Morley
8) Rob Carruthers
9) Richard Pachniuk
10) Scott Woodcock
11) Matthew Roberts
12) Lee Schofield
13) Kieran Talbot
14) Adam Redgwick
15) James Folan
16) Vinny Johnson
17) Anthony Broadhead 1 Try
Leigh Miners Rangers 38
(Black & Gold)
1) Adam Higson 1 Try
2) Paul Wingfield 1 Try
3) Chris Humphrey
4) John Woods 3 Tries
5) Tom Draper
6) Garry Fitzmartin
7) Scott O'Brien
8) Craig Wingfield
9) Aaron Gorton
10) Danny Mole
11) David Patterson 2 Tries
12) Simon Warhurst
13) David Radley 5 Goals
14) Danny Galvin
15) Craig Fairclough
16) Adam Teece
17) Steve Garces
Referee – Stuart Lee (Leigh)
Sin Bin – Aaron Garton 36 mins tripping
Adam Higson 52 mins dissent
Man of the match – Richard Pachniuk (Trojans) David Patterson (Miners)