Match report by Simon McInnes
TRINITY 22-25 WEYBRIDGE VANDALS
Trinity played uphill and into the breeze for the first half, and after ten minutes may have been regretting the circumstances, having conceded two tries and facing a 0-12 deficit.
Both of Vandals scores were down to the basics of back play – take passes at running pace, aim for the gaps between defenders and run like blazes when getting some space. It looked very ominous for the home team, but after the bad start they knuckled down and controlled possession, preventing Vandals from repeating the early successful formula. And when they could not keep the ball, the defence tightened up a great deal.
The first dent in the score came with Andrew Dean driving at the heart of the visiting defence, and finding that it was their turn to be a bit wanting, breaking a couple of tackles to leave himself a clear run for the final few metres. Crouch converted and added a penalty to make the half-time score a much more manageable 10-12. With Trinity on top in the scrums and Vandals own line out being rather unreliable, a further recovery looked to be on the cards.
Alas, Trinity conceded an early try in the second period to make it 10-19 and then were put on the back foot for a while when incurring the wrath of the referee for a brief period. It began with a penalty for delaying a quick taking of a previous penalty by Vandals and ended with a harsh looking yellow card for George Daniels for an attempted interception that failed. As it turned out, the spell with one man short did Trinity no harm. A hefty tackle on the halfway line created a loose ball which Temi Okenla scooped up and ran in for a score to make it 17-19, although before the sin bin was up, Vandals added three more points to their score.
The next step was possibly the greatest try ever seen at Lime Meadow Avenue. A long clearance kick was dropped, but backwards, by the visiting right winger. In attempting to recover, he touched the ball with a foot in touch, but the touch judge had the turning circle of an oil tanker and was completely unsighted when this mistake happened. That was no problem for Trinity, as in the course of the error, the player knocked the ball back about eight metres, and his third attempt to gather only moved the ball another ten metres nearer Vandals’ try line. At this stage one of their centres decided to rectify the situation. Fortunately he did not make contact with the ball, as had he done so, he would have been coming in from a hopelessly offside position, risking a yellow card. Even better, he clattered the winger making his fourth attempt to pick up the ball. Several players then dived vaguely in the direction of the white ellipsoid hot potato and the referee adjudged that Ty Williams had scored Trinity’s third try, although the difficult kick was missed. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but 22-22 is a aesthetically soothing score.
Not for the first time, the home side conceded a penalty a bit too quickly after the restart, leaving them just a few minutes to come back from 22-25 down. A chance came, but the wind blew Crouch’s penalty attempt just wide, and that proved to be the last kick of the match. When prompted for a relevant cliché, coach Andy Edwards agreed that it was a game in which tiny margins changed the outcome.
A relatively entertaining game, less bad tempered than most recent encounters between the sides. With two home walkovers amongst the five scheduled games in Counties 11 Surrey/Sussex results elsewhere left Trinity in sixth place, with three wins from six matches.
See more match photos from Pete Filewood’s Flickr page