GMB National Cup Round 3
North West Counties Division One pace setters Wigan St.Cuthberts arrived in Overthorpe Park on the back of an impressive playing record. Having already reached the Lancashire Cup final this season and with only one league defeat to date, the Trojans knew they were in for a stern test if they were to progress further in this seasons National Cup competition.
However, inspirational performances from scrum half George Mack and second rower Anthony Broadhead helped the Trojans break the Wigan team down. Despite the visitors showing good resistance for long periods of the game, this ultimately turned out to be a comfortable victory for Thornhill.
The official man of the match award went to stand off Liam Morley, despite the fact that he spent a long period of this game on the side line with an injured ankle. Morley's half back partner George Mack was in devastating form as time and time again he spliced the St.Cuthberts defence open with some skilful running. It was Mack's quick thinking that resulted in the games first try. With the game still inside its opening two minutes and with play close to the St.Cuthberts try line, Mack picked up the ball from the acting half position and nipped over for a try as he continued Thornhill's forward momentum. Craig Holmes added the first of a series of brilliant conversion attempts.
Anthony Broadhead was another Thornhill player who possessed too much go forward for the Wigan team to handle. It was some good attacking play from Anthony Broadhead that sent Matthew Roberts stepping away on a run. As the Wigan defence moved in on Roberts the ball was switched in field to the supporting George Mack. Mack took the pass and sprinted over for his second try of the game. Craig Holmes converted.
It was during the first half that Thornhill did very well to keep their composure in the face of some bizarre refereeing decisions. Despite producing a disciplined performance with no apparent foul play from either team the Trojans somehow found themselves on the wrong end of a final 19-5 penalty count.
But despite the lopsided penalty count Thornhill remained focused on the task in hand. One area of Thornhill's play which the St.Cuthberts team seemed to struggle with was their ability to keep play alive by offloading the ball in the tackle. It was a series of offloads from Thornhill which had the Wigan team back pedalling towards their own try line. One final offload in the tackle from Scott Woodcock finally proved to be St.Cuthberts undoing. Anthony Broadhead took the pass and went over for a try which Craig Holmes converted.
Another fine break from George Mack set Thornhill on the way to their fourth try of the game. When Mack's progress was eventually halted the ball was worked across the field. A kick forward from Scott Dyson was pounced upon by Craig Holmes and the try was scored. Holmes converted his own try to see Thornhill lead 24-0 at the interval.
A lively opening to the second half from St.Cuthberts resulted in their one and only try of the game. From close range stand off Jamie Dallimore put a clever kick towards the try line. The move caught Thornhill out and Dallimore followed his own kick to ground the ball and score the try. Dallimore converted his own try.
But Thornhill recovered from this lapse to grind out the remainder of this cup tie in order to secure victory. Props James Folan and Lee Schofield made the hard yards for the Trojans before some wonderful team play resulted in another try. The ball was worked through several pairs of Trojans hands in an exhibition of good open rugby. Eventually an overlap was created and winger Scott Redgwick took the final pass to go over for a try in the corner. Craig Holmes kicked a fantastic touch line conversion.
This try was swiftly followed by another when George Mack combined with Anthony Broadhead to send Matthew Roberts heading for glory. With an outstretched arm Roberts planted the ball over the line to score a try. Holmes once again converted.
The final act of this game was for the Trojans to score their seventh and final try. A slick dummy from Scott Dyson created space for Matthew Roberts to run onto the ball and go over for his second try of the game. For the first time all game Craig Holmes was off target with his attempt at goal. In acknowledgment of Holmes' fine kicking spectacle spectators booed Holmes mockingly as he made his way back into position for the restart.
This has been a fine effort from the Trojans in a good spirited cup tie. The reward for their efforts? – a trip to West Hull in the next round.