Match report by Gerry Murphy
Trinity 12 Old Tiffinians 36
Counties League 1 Surrey/Sussex
In ideal conditions for running rugby Trinity were quick to make take the game to the visitors.
Andy Dean carried well on three occasions and was ably supported by Farooq Agbalaya. The ball would not stick for Trinity, however, and it was not long before the speedy Tiffinians’ line got going. A line break by the flanker saw him with only full back Ben Telfer to beat but the Trinity man held his ground to sustain a mighty charge and delay his run long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Trinity won a turnover and Telfer, shaken but not stirred, found a good relieving touch.
From a home scrum Farooq picked up at the base and broke. He unloaded to Harry Wilson who went on one of his threatening runs but was stopped in the 22 by a strong saving tackle and Tiffin won back possession. They now came at the hosts and Farooq and Olly Hubbard put in some stout tackles. Hubbard was injured and Tiffin sustained the pressure but were matched by sound Trinity defence. A well -timed counter-ruck from Trinity won a penalty and Wilson took a quick tap and passed to Telfer who ran powerfully to the 22. Yet again, however, the ball popped up for the defence and they cleared. Most of the play was in the visitors’ half and Farooq continued to show the way for Trinity. Jack Greenwood sent the speedy Ty Williams on a run and James Jenkins was weaving his way to the line but was just short. Eventually Tiffinians broke away but then suffered a yellow card for killing the ball. Dave Spedding made a good catch in the line and broke forward but again Trinity could not carry on the move. Fuad Agbalaya was then injured. Tiffins produced a powerful scrum drive but Wilson nailed his opposite number. More good surges from Dean and Farooq and some typical driving by Nathan Bacon kept the visitors on the back foot but, despite all their possession and territory they reached half time with no points to show.
The game changed completely after the interval. Two minutes in Sharif Dougramaji kicked a penalty for Tiffiinians. Five minutes later he was again on the scoresheet when, after a penalty to the corner and a solid maul from the line out, he was the one to break off and score. He converted himself and three minutes later he was running a one-man show as he sailed through the middle for another 7 points. He had transformed the game in 10 minutes and the visitors were rampant. An injury to Harry Wilson did not help the Trinity chances but they battled well and had a good period in which Spedding made another break but was held just short. Another injury to a key player, this time Andy Dean, meant that Trinity had to bring Hubbard back on, though he was not fully fit. Farooq soldiered on with an ankle injury.
Still it was Tiffinians who continued to keep Mids scoreless and added to their total with a try by Noah Noeh under the posts. Trinity had to defend again. A barrage of high kicks was well fielded by Ali Hall and Telfer did very well to tidy up when he had to catch under pressure and deal with the oncoming tackle on several occasions. At last Trinity’s persistence was rewarded when an excellent counter-attack with slick handling by Greenwood, Telfer, Farooq and Temi Okenla put Ty Williams away for a deserved score. Tiffinians were not finished, however, and they scored two further tries, one for that man Dougramaji and the other for flanker Kieran Richards. But Trinity had the last word when Telfer made a powerful surge through the middle and Okenla was up in support to gain the touchdown.
Coach Andy Edwards was pleased with the spirit shown and will hope for better finishing in the remaining fixtures. Tiffinians certainly looked like league leaders but, despite the score, this was an entertaining and well-contested match and, with so many injuries to contend with, Trinity did well.