Match report by Gerry Murphy
Trinity 19 Old Cranleighans 24
Counties League 1 Surrey/Sussex
In ideal conditions at Lime Meadow Avenue Trinity were hoping for a better result after the previous week’s narrow loss to the league leaders. It was not to be, however, as a lively Old Cranleighans’ outfit had the better of the opening exchanges.
Trinity were ill at ease and execution of the basics was sorely lacking. The visitors were not much better and they too dropped straightforward passes and butchered chances. However, after 6 minutes they gained good possession in the home 22 and were allowed to pick and drive four times with minimal resistance to cross for a try. A good kick from far out put them 7-0 to the good.
Mids huffed and puffed and had chances to play but were frantic at everything and showed little continuity in their play. The line out was a real mess and good positions were squandered as a result. It is clear that this is a focus for training sessions and that attendance at training is vital.
After 15 minutes Trinity went down to 14 when Mark Macaskill as carded for a high tackle and things looked grim. Scrum half Harry Wilson had other ideas and when Cranleighans were penalised near half way he took a quick tap, dodged a tackle, chipped over the top and got a good bounce to gather and score by the posts. Fly- half Dan Crouch’s conversion levelled the scores at 7-7.
The visitors were back in front after 26 minutes when Mids knocked on in their own lineout and paid the price when Cranleighans crossed in the left corner. They were now in charge and only a fine tackle by winger Ty Williams and two long relieving kicks by Crouch kept Mids in the game. The hosts were relieved when Macaskill returned but had no answer soon after. Cranleighans produced some good handling to sweep downfield and score their third try and lead 19-7.
Mids had their best period of the half in the 5 minutes before the interval when they battered the visitors’ line but were held up just short on several occasions.
Trinity tightened up their play and started the second half as a more cohesive unit. They were rewarded after 50 minutes when a flowing move led to Williams putting a deft grubber behind the defence and wining the race to score. Crouch produced a peach of a conversion and home supporters could see some prospects at 14-19. Cranleighans had other ideas, however, and a strong maul produced their bonus point try and they led 24-14.
A harsh yellow card for a deliberate knock on (á la international refereeing!) reduced Cranleighans to 14 and Trinity took advantage by pressing the visitors more. Wilson did some useful sniping. When Cranleigh were penalised in front of their own posts, Trinity took a scrum and a long pass right put winger James Jenkins in for a try opportunity Unfortunately, despite having a good game overall, he dropped the ball forward and the chance was gone. Trinity came again and had two periods of pressure in the 22. But again the line out, which had steadied earlier with flanker Ben Vaillant catching well, proved their undoing and let Cranleigh back to dominate. They now exerted some pressure of their own and Trinity defended well. They looked certain to score in the right corner after a flowing movement but they butchered this chance. Marc McEvilly, who had a fine game the previous week, now showed his paces and a strong run down the right to the 22 promised a result when he passed inside to Wilson but his pass went to a retreating Cranleighans player who gratefully accepted the unexpected gift.
Jenkins then forced his way out of defence and showed strength and determination to shrug off tackles and race down the right to the tryline. When he was tackled Wilson was up in support and he tried to chip through and follow up with the line gaping but the ball bizarrely hit a defender and bounced away. The Cranleighans ‘ clearing kick was well fielded by full back Ben Telfer and he sped for the far corner and unloaded to Williams for a well-deserved Trinity try. Going into the closing minutes Trinity had a chance to steal the game when a penalty was kicked to the corner by Telfer but the throw to the line out was judged not straight and the last opportunity went.
Mention has to be made of 58 year old prop Dom Plumb who held his end up admirably for 80 minutes and of Farooq Agbalaya who had a storming game and seemed to be everywhere, carrying, tackling and winning turnovers
Trinity will have to tidy up on the basics if they are to have any chance against a powerful Chobham team in two weeks’ time.
Photos from the game from Pete Filewood’s Flickr page can be viewed via this link