Thornton GS Vs Spen Valley HS
Published under Sport Results Monday 12 December, 2011
Both teams went in to this tie full of confidence having won their previous games in spectacular fashion. Spen Valley beat Buttershaw 58-8 whilst Thornton had conquered Carr Manor (Leeds) 40-4. However, on a bitterly cold and windy December afternoon with snow expected, this was never going to be the great spectacle as some would have anticipated.
Spen Valley won the toss and elected to kick which meant they’d also have a considerable wind in their favour for the first half. Spen Valley soon broke the Thornton Line out wide after some lazy defending to see them break the deadlock after just 5 minutes to go 4-0 ahead. Opportunities were lost on both sides with horrendous gales and hale having detrimental effects on the teams’ ability to play rugby in the manner that had led them to being in the last 32 of the competition.
Spen Valley kicked a speculative wind assisted punt on the 5th deep inside their own half which caught Thornton short at the back and led to the Spen Valley stand off to pick up a loose pass and score under the posts and converted to go 10-0 ahead. However, soon from the restart, the elusive Jack Brown collected a loose ball and ran 60m leaving six Spen Valley players in his trail clutching at mid-air.
The two teams exchanged a further try each to go in at half time 14-10 to Spen Valley. This score line would usually ring alarm bells for the Thornton team who had only conceded one try (4 points) in the last 3 games! However, with such advantageous weather conditions soon to be handed over as the two team’s swapped halves, the manager and head coach Oliver Johnson were not too concerned.
This confidence was reinforced straight from kick off as Thornton scored again to tie the game. The remainder of the game was then played in the oppositions half with Spen Valley offering little to prevent a constant onslaught by a revived Thornton outfit.
Ahsan Abbass, Tyler Ochiobi, Jed Townsend, Joe Hall and Jay Wilkinson continued to hammer down the Spen Valley defence whist half-backs Harry Williams and Alix Stephenson controlled the offensive play with some decisive passing and kicking. Centres Nazam Amin and Jay Panter dominated play for much of the second half adding further scores for the team. Whilst wingers Ben Craig, Nathen Flesher, Cameron Lister and Joe fox all took turns in stretching the oppositions defence and containing Spen Valley’s attempted attacks throughout the game. Hooker Nathen Cranney thwarted Spen Valley’s attempts to restore some pride in the score line demonstrating blistering line speed and sheer brutality in his outstanding defensive work.
However, man of the match has to go to the ubiquitous loose forward Callum John who has improved considerably since recently joining Queensbury RLFC. Callum offered an option at nearly every play throughout the game and was instrumental in many of the tries.
Even with the second half being cut short by five minutes courtesy of a request from the oppositions manager, Thornton were still able to score 24 points from Amin, Ochiobi, John, Panter and Stephenson and the boot of Williams.
An outstanding performance by all linked to the team and a special thank you to VI former, James Wain who stepped in at the last minute to referee the game after the designated referee ‘cried off’ just before kick off!
Thornton GS( 34) Spen Valley (14)
We now qualify for the quarter finals of the national competition against South Leeds. As national champions, they will surely be the hardest game we have ever played but anything now is a bonus. All players should relish the opportunity to measure themselves against the best and gain invaluable experience. With the team spirit and talent amongst our team I have every faith that we can win the game and go on and win the competition. Hard work and commitment will ultimately decide how we continue to progress. However, we can rest assured that we are already the most successful team from Bradford and Keighley in our age group and also the most successful rugby team to represent Thornton Grammar for decades.
A special thank you to my leaders; Chris Wharton, James Wain, Keir Terry, Sam Boothroyd and especially Oliver Johnson. Without your sustained assistance throughout the season so far, one member of staff would not be able to offer so much quality provision throughout the school. I look forward to celebrating the conclusion of the 2011-2012 campaign with you all in the League Final at Bradford Bulls, Odsal next summer!