In a game of two halves, Cardiff Demons just about held on to 22-point half-time lead to bring the TotalRL.com National Conference Shield trophy to Wales for the first time.
Throughout the first-half, Cardiff proved why the Welsh Conference is rated as the best in the country with four un-answered tries. They gained first advantage after only five minutes. Following a deft pass from Mark Bow, Gareth Jones scored after a typically mazy run from the half-back.
Thorne failed to capitalise on two chances to strike back. First, David Knott powered through four Demons defenders but his pass to Andy Evans 20 metres out was forward. Then Craig Hookway was stopped on the final tackle just five metres from the line.
Demons extended their lead following the handover. Gareth Jones, Neil Thomas and Jamie Iles combined for an 80-metre run and after the ball ran across the face of the posts, Idris Evans picked up to ground in the corner.
It was 16-0 after 19 minutes as Gareth Jones broke through setting up Neil Thomas while Bow’s hard-fought try five minutes from half-time put the favourites 22-0 up at the interval.
The second half started as a far more tense affair as Thorne desperately tried to overcome their large deficit.
But it was Cardiff who extended their lead in the 51st minute as Graham Hughes powered over in the corner.
Following a ten-minute delay due to Marauders’ Craig Linsdell possibly breaking his ankle, Thorne finally got on the scoreboard. Following an excellent interchange of passes from Nathan Hazlewood and Hookway, Shaun Carvell grounded in the corner.
Lifted by this, they scored their second from the kick-off after Mark Roach was allowed to run 60 metres leading to Gareth Monroe to set up Carvell for his second.
Pete Moore’s field goal extended Cardiff’s lead in the 60th and two minutes later the Great Britain student international could have got a try on the board but was held up just before the line.
Marauders’ Carvell completed his hat-trick with 15 minutes to go and surprisingly Kevin Lake missed the crucial kick from right in front of the posts leaving the Marauders three tries behind.
Carvell raced in for his fourth with just six minutes left on the clock and could have had a fifth with a minute to go but dropped the ball as he was tackled under the sticks by Moore.
Gareth Jones wrapped things up for the Demons with a last minute penalty kick to complete a tense win for the Welshmen.
CARDIFF DEMONS: 1 Jamie Iles, 2 Idris Evans, 3 Rhodri Thomas, 4 Neil Thomas, 5 Andrew Bradshaw, 6 Gareth Jones, 7 Peter Moore, 8 Graham Hughes, 9 Mark Bow, 10 Anthony Loxton, 11 Mark Dando, 12 Dave Roberson, 13 John Byers. Subs (all used): 14 Andy Jones, 15 Pat Howell, 16 Tom Young, 17 Kyle Blake.
Tries: G.Jones (5), Evans (13), Thomas (19), Bow (35), Hughes (51)
Goals: G.Jones 4/5, Moore 0/1
THORNE MOOR MARAUDERS: 1 Craig Hookway, 2 Kevin Lake, 3 Shaun Carvell, 4 David Knott, 5 Craig Linsdell, 6 Mark Roach, 7 Ryan Noble, 8 Andy Evans, 9 Martin Rowlands, 10 Wayne Rafferty, 11 Brett Stavely, 12, Graeth Monroe, 13 Steve Allen. Subs (all used): 14 Ernie Lake, 15 Shane Lake, 16 Nathan Hazlewood, 17 Chris Allen.
Tries: Carvell (55, 58, 65, 74)
Goals: K.Lake 2/4
Gamestar: Shaun Carvell whose four tries brought Marauders to within touching point of a win.
Gamebreaker: Pete Moore tackling Shaun Carvell on the line in the 77th minute. A try would have put the rampaging Marauders to within a point.
Referee: Craig Hill
Men of the Match:
Demons: Mark Bow.
Marauders: Shaun Carvell
Article by Ian Golden