Old Rishworthians 23 Thornensians 21
Rishworthians played their “get out of jail” card to win with the last move of the game after it looked like they had just thrown it away.
After seeming in control of this Yorkshire Three match the league leaders allowed themselves to be drawn into a forwards battle and almost paid the price.
At 16-16 with five minutes to go, a fired-up Thorne side grabbed what looked like the winning try with an interception and touch down by the posts. Surprisingly the conversion attempt hit the upright.
The visitors then tried to run the clock down with a number of forward drives, but with 30 seconds to go Rishworthians got a penalty deep in their own half.
They had to run it. First flanker Chris Dyson made a strong break in the centre, before the ball went wide to replacement right wing Joe Billing.
He put in the telling run before being stopped 10 metres out. He got the ball inside to No 8 James Clarke, whose quick pass put player-coach Damian Ball in under the posts to level the scores.
Fullback Aaron Canning’s conversion was a formality to win the game with the final whistle going immediately afterwards.
Thornensians, who are among the group of clubs battling for the second promotion spot had proved strong opponents, and although Ball was not happy with the way his team had played, was full of praise for the way they finished.
“It just shows you can’t write us off. We play 80 minutes right up to the final whistle, but this was very close,” he said.
Rishworthians had opened the game well putting the visitors under constant pressure, but suddenly found themselves behind when a chip kick over the backs caught them leaden-footed and the Thorne fullback raced through to gather and touch down under the posts for a converted try.
The home team came back strongly and Canning pulled back three points with a penalty.
They took control and were soon in front. First Dyson, then Canning went close, before play was switched and lock Fraser Swarbrooke put stand-off Luke Flanagan in for a try. Canning converted and then added another penalty, before the visitors replied with a penalty of their own to end the half 13-10 in Rishworthians favour.
They started the second half well and a catch and drive from a lineout ended in a mass of players over the line, but the try was not given.
Canning increased the lead with a penalty, but then the visitors hit back and brought the scores level with two penalties of their own.
As time began to run out a draw looked the most likely result. Canning had what looked like a chance to win it but hit the upright with a penalty attempt for the second time in the match.
Then suddenly came the interception try and the final dramatic events started.
It gave Rishworthians plenty to think about ahead of next week’s rearranged home game with mid-table Burley.
The second team went down to a strong Huddersfield YMCA XV 34-22. Paul Henry Jackson scored two tries and Chris Fox added a third.
Josh Kelly kicked a penalty and a conversion and Lee Atkinson added a second conversion.