HOVE 46-5 TRINITYJanuary 30, 2024
TRINITY 19-16 OLD CRANLEIGHANSFebruary 18, 2024
TRINITY 27 TWICKENHAM 61
Trinity’s woes continued as they wait for better availability and hope that some, at least, of the host of injured players will be fit to return for the next match.
This week they started very well against what they knew was a talented outfit. Twickenham’s efforts to open up were stifled by vigilance from Callum True and Tom Caplin, Dave Spedding disrupted the visitors’ line out and Ollie Hubbard and Ben Vaillant ensured they were a nuisance. This gave Trinity a platform to make the play themselves and they forced the visitors to concede a number of penalties. George Daniels was prominent in line out and around the park and found himself in space to launch a promising attack. Mids felt confident enough to opt for scrums when they could have taken points from penalties awarded. They pressed the line and Hubbard was just short. They sustained the pressure and deserved to go ahead after 9 minutes when Daniels picked up at the back of the scrum, fed scrum half Dave Stanton and took the return pass to score. Ben Telfer skilfully slotted the conversion for a 7-0 advantage.
Twickenham came more into the game and Trinity managed some good exits in defence with Dan Crouch finding long clearing touches. In general, however, the tackling deteriorated and only a hold-up on the line from Telfer kept Twickenham out. But they were playing advantage and were alert to tap quickly and cross. The conversion tied the scores. Trinity came again and won a penalty on the visitors’ 22. Telfer’s effort was pushed just to the right of the post. Trinity now lost their early dominance and Twickenham came at them in waves. A strong tackle by Caplin stemmed the flow temporarily but the visitors had too much firepower and went 14-7 ahead after 23 minutes. Five minutes later thy had made this 21-7, despite good tackles by Hubbard and Ty Williams and a fine break out of defence by Telfer. In general, however, the hosts were on the back foot and even the scrum had to concede a penalty. Twickenham had plenty of moving parts, particularly their talented No.8 Nick Smith who has given Mids grief in previous encounters. They scored two more seven pointers in quick succession and were out of sight at 35-7 when the interval came.
From the kick off Trinity had possession and tried to run the ball out of defence. Once they had to kick, however, Twickenham ran it back and they showed some excellent handling as they spread the play first to the right and then all the way left to create an overlap and their 6th try. An injury to Archie McMillan did not help the home situation but they dug in and produced a good period of possession. Daniels jumped athletically to steal a line out ball and Trinity were able to maintain pressure when Twickenham got a yellow card. A number of penalties helped and eventually Vaillant weaved his way through to ground for a deserved score. Telfer converted and it was 14-42. Despite Trinity’s better share of possession, Twickenham still had the speed to break away and score three more tries, one after a fine clearing 50-22. Smith scored four tries for them over the course of the afternoon – he is a rare talent at this level.
Trinity kept trying and Dave Spedding forced his way over in the corner to reduce the deficit. They then pressed for a try bonus point and late on Vaillant put in Jacques Bryant for the final try which Telfer converted. A bonus point was no mean feat against very strong opposition. Vaillant led well as captain on the day, Hubbard had his usual all round committed performance and the scrum acquitted itself very well again. The main thing Trinity need to work on to improve performance is tackling which will be the main focus for coaches Matt Higgins and Andy Edwards before Old Cranleighans visit on 17th February.
Match Report – GERRY MURPHY
Tribe Advisory Player of the Match – GEORGE DANIELS
More photos via Pete Filewood’s FLICKR page