TRINITY LEAVERS 19-10 TRINITYSeptember 12, 2023
TRINITY 22-25 EAST GRINSTEADSeptember 26, 2023
Old Walcountians 15 Trinity 20
Trinity opened their league campaign against local rivals Walcountians in warm conditions at Woodmansterne.
The referee was quick to penalise the visitors for a high tackle but Walcountians failed to exploit a good position won from the kick when they failed to throw straight to the line out. In the first scrum it was evident that Trinity would have the edge in this department. When they had their first line out they in turn threw crooked but, thankfully, this was not a mistake they repeated. Trinity had the better of the opening exchanges and all the play was in the home half. However, when a high clearing kick was fielded well by debutant winger James Duffy, his own kick was charged down and some indifferent tackling by Mids allowed the hosts in for the opening try and a lead of 5-0 after 6 minutes.
From the kick off Tim Jupp won a turnover. Full back Jack Greenwood’s penalty attempt was just wide. Trinity kept up the pressure and created plenty, including a flowing move right which led to a strong burst from centre Marc McEvilly, but his pass was dropped and the chance was gone. In the line out Tim Jupp’s throwing was now first class and Ben Vaillant was soaring to the skies to claim good ball. But the breaks were not going for Mids and Walcountians were doing well at the breakdown. Olly Hubbard was keeping Trinity in it with his usual play around the field jackaling and tackling, and the Trinity scrum continued to rule.
Eventually things began to open up and a big maul moved them forward. A kick ahead was well chased by No.8 Farooq Agbalaya and he turned over possession. Dan Crouch kicked to the 22 and, after another fine take by Vaillant, Mids drove into the 22. The defence knocked on and the Trinity scrum, with Ali Hall, Jupp and the ever-impressive Jacques Bryant forming a formidable front row, drove over to give Agbalaya the touchdown. Greenwood’s conversion meant that Trinity were deservedly 7-5 ahead on the half hour. The hosts now came back but butchered a good chance with a forward pass. They regained the lead, however, when Trinity were penalised for not pushing straight in the scrum. Walcountians now won good ground but a long relieving kick from Greenwood won back territory for Trinity. Their set piece was on top and Walcountians repeatedly offended at the line out. A scrum in the home 22 forced a penalty. Skipper Harry Wilson at scrum half took a quick tap and, when the defence was penalised again, Andy Dean was held just short. The ensuing Trinity scrum was well held but the ball was quickly spread right and Duffy took the scoring pass to finish off a fluid piece of play. Greenwood’s conversion advanced the lead to 14-8.
Just before half time Trinity won a very kickable penalty on the 22 but this time Greenwood’s kick was off target.
He made amends soon after the restart with a successful kick after Ben Vaillant had put in a huge tackle. Trinity seemed well in charge when they were awarded another penalty but silly retaliation saw this reversed and suddenly Walcountians laid siege to the visitors’ line. They spurned a good opportunity when a player ran into his own man but they kept up the onslaught. They were repelled by two more excellent tackles by Vaillant and Dean and Dan Crouch won a classy turnover. Walcountians came close again but a foot in touch denied them. Mids were conceding too many penalties and in quick succession Alex Scott and McEvilly were given yellow cards. Now the 13 men really had their backs to the wall. Somehow, with grit and determination they repelled everything that was thrown at them for a long period. Walcountians could hardly believe that they did not score and eventually Mids cleared downfield and a succession of penalties enabled Ben Telfer to nudge them down the touchline to pin the hosts in their own 22.
When the cards expired it seemed that the game was safe but Walcountians produced a fine move and Dom Barnaby showed real class in splitting the defence to score under the posts and the conversion reduced the margin to a mere two points. Trinity were not to be mugged, however, and from the kick-off man of the match Vaillant won another turnover. Greenwood’s arrow-straight kick finished the scoring and sealed a deserved victory for Trinity. Coach Matt Higgins will be well pleased with the performance of both line out, where Jupp’s throwing and the lifters and jumpers, particularly Vaillant and Spedding were outstanding and the powerful scrum which put in a huge shift. Trinity’s veteran campaigners Crouch, Mark Macaskill and Dom Plumb all contributed to a fine start to the season.
MATCH REPORT by Gerry Murphy
TRIBE ADVISORY PLAYER OF THE MATCH: BEN VAILLANT