A HAT-TRICK for man of the match hooker Craig Kay helped Bolton to a 28-21 over Torfaen Tigers in the TotalRL.com Shield final reports Tony Hannan.
An equally exciting if at times bad-tempered encounter looked to be heading the way of the Welshmen who held a 20-12 half-time lead.
But Bolton fought back superbly to pick up their first piece of silverware.
The Tigers’ kick off out on the full enabled Kay to dart over after just two minutes, centre Dave Hindley converting.
Torfaen quickly hit back after 14 minutes when winger Mike Stephens rounded the defence to score in the corner, Richard Jenkins’ touchline conversion leveling matters.
Within a minute however Bolton were again in front when Kay jinked over for a second, Hindley converting.
A try from second-rower Damian Hudd got the Tigers back in it and a lovely Luke Bingham score on the half hour put them 14-12 ahead. Stand-off and goalkicker Jenkins was sin-binned for his part in a brawl in the build-up, but 12-man Torfaen extended their lead through Stephens’ second, sub Mike Davies converting to make it 20-12.
Bolton began the second period without the services of stand-off Kevin Coward who was sin-binned for dissent after throwing a punch in a lively end to the first half.
They managed the shortfall in numbers very well, with only a field goal from the returning Jenkins troubling the scoreboard, following an earlier Hindley penalty.
And when centre Hindley roared in for a try, the Lancashire side were only three points adrift.
Man of the match Kay’s hat-trick and another Hindley conversion confirmed the fightback as the game went into the final quarter.
A sin-binning for hooker Jason Hill for punching was just what Torfaen didn’t need. This time Bolton made the extra man tell as Hindley completed his brace.
In an unfortunate end to the clash, loose forward Phil Marsh was lucky to be only sin-binned for a late high shot on scrum-half Martin Fisher as Torfaen tried in vain to fight back. But Bolton hung on to finish another highly enjoyable TotalRL.com Conference Final as deserved victors.