Match report from Gerry Murphy.
Old Cranleighans 30 Trinity 15
Trinity were hoping for a better result as they travelled to Thames Ditton to play one of the few sides below them in the league. From the very start, however, things did not go their way.
Three times they fumbled the ball from the kick-off and the hosts were presented with the softest 7 points in the very first minute. Mids regrouped and had some opportunities to mount an attack. A line out in the corner promised something but it was lost, a pattern which was repeated uncomfortably over the course of the afternoon. The next passage of good work from the visitors came to nothing as they were penalised for crossing. Cranleigh kicked to the 22, mauled from a rock-solid line out and put in the scrum half to double their lead after 12 minutes. Nathan Bacon produced some of his typical drives in the loose but Trinity did not manage the breakdown well and were penalised, giving the defence the chance to clear. They were lucky then not to go further behind when Cranleigh knocked on with the line at their mercy. The Trinity scrum was expecting to do well but the referee did not like their technique, and they were penalised, giving Cranleigh a penalty chance which they took to move 17-0 clear.
A big scrum from Cranleigh produced a dangerous attack but Tom Black showed some fire for the visitors with a powerful drive, and he won a penalty. A quick tap from Rob Farmer set up a good position and the ball was taken on by Ty Williams and Ali Hall. Mids managed to recycle well deep in the 22 and Black forced his way over to reduce the deficit to 17-5.
The kick-off was not well handled and when Cranleigh again took the Mids line out they put the pressure back on and scored just before the interval to give them a comfortable 22-5 lead at half time.
Trinity began the second half with more purpose. They won a rare line out and mauled and recycled well to put pressure on the home line. They deserved their try after repeated assaults on the line by Black, Bacon and Hall and the captain got the touchdown after 44 minutes. 22-10 looked much better but Mids needed to build on this quickly to have a chance of winning. Bacon and Black did sterling work in the loose and big tackles by Williams and Jacques Bryant kept them in the game as Cranleigh threatened. In fact, the home side will feel that they squandered several good opportunities.
Trinity kept at it and when Max Mouna secured good possession in midfield the visitors produced their best move of the match. Telfer made a break and passed to Marc McEvilly who ran strongly before returning the pass and Telfer unloaded to Temi Okenla who finished the move. Trinity could see prospects as they were now only one score adrift going into the last quarter. However, Cranleigh were not going to make anything easy. They kicked a penalty to move 10 points clear and despite good resistance from Black and Bacon and a fine run out of defence by Okenla,Mids continued to have problems in the line out which denied any continuity of possession. Some last ditch tackling kept Cranleigh out and even a yellow card for the hosts (upped to red for abuse) did not stop them scoring another try in the corner at the death.