SURREY CUP SEMI-FINAL
With a strong wind at their backs Trinity felt they had to post a good margin in the first half to give them a chance in this semi-final. They were on the attack quickly and a slick move nearly brought a score with Liam Sullivan help up just short. A good attacking kick from Dan Crouch was well defended by Blues and in the first scrum the visitors had the edge, something Trinity have not been used to this season. Trinity then lost their own line out and conceded three penalties at the breakdown. Blues were rucking well and keeping it tight as the conditions demanded and they (and Trinity!) were aware that the clock was ticking.
A fine 22 -50 kick from Crouch gave Trinity an opportunity. Dave Spedding took a good catch and the maul was set and well controlled by skipper Ali Hall who peeled off and forced his way through to plant the ball for the opening score. The conversion was missed but there were points on the scoreboard after 18 minutes. Trinity were now in charge. Olly Hubbard was his ubiquitous self and a classic Nathan Bacon run, clearing everything in his path, took them to the 22. Spedding obliged again and a fierce assault on the line, with Adam Stammers to the fore, looked certain to yield a try. Blues were offside and the outcome was a penalty goal for Crouch which was little return for such fine play.
From the kick-off, however, Tom Sullivan tidied up well and fed Crouch who measured a very skilful kick to gain another 22-50. Spedding took the catch in the line out and Bacon burst forward again. Spedding took the ball on and, from the ruck, the ball was fed at speed along the line to set up the ideal opportunity for Liam Sullivan to come in at speed and score in style. Crouch converted and the gap was 15 points after 30 minutes. Old Blues now came back into the game and camped on the home 22. They won two penalties at the scrum and when they opted to scrummage again it seemed as if Trinity would be in trouble with a yellow card threatened. Stammers took the ball against the head and a huge clearing kick from Marc McEvilly must have been a real blow to the visitors. Crouch followed up with a sweet penalty strike and at 18-0 Trinity looked more comfortable. Blues came again but the clock was approaching half time and Trinity had their lead. An injury to Jack Whitewood brought the ageless Dom Plumb to the field. The picture change in added time when Blues kicked to the corner, won the line -out and controlled possession as Trinity protested that they had infringed. Blues were patient and scored a converted try at the death. A margin of 11 points was a precarious margin, given the conditions, and the visitors would have been well pleased with their position. They had done well against the elements, were winning more penalties and had the edge in the scrum.
When they were under the Trinity posts immediately on resuming after the interval, it seemed that they must score a 7 pointer and reduce the gap to 4 points. Trinity dug in and survived. An injury to Hubbard did not bode well for Mids but they did steady their scrum. It then looked as if they would lose Spedding to injury, but he was patched up and soldiered on. Liam Sullivan was doing great work in defence and when Bacon burst through on another powerful run and scored they could see better prospects after 51 minutes. The kick-off was kicked long and dead. Blues, with a succession of missed touches, squandered the opportunities presented by the gale. On 56 minutes Mids had the luxury of a solid scrum to move the ball again and McEvilly came into the line and completed the move around the outside to score behind the posts. Crouch’s conversion gave Trinity a comfortable lead and Blues’ hearts were broken. Mids were now spurred on, with Tom Sullivan upping the pace, and began to play exhibition stuff. The Sullivan brothers were producing fireworks. Bacon made another charge and had Tom Sullivan on his shoulder to finish another move for a try converted by McEvilly. Stammers then enjoyed himself to surge forward and James Jenkins completed the rout with two more tries before the end.
Coach Andy Edwards hailed this as the most complete performance of the season and was reluctant to single out any players as he felt that everyone, including a strong bench, had contributed in spades. For Old Blues it was a day of great disappointment, having played so well in the first half but then allowing Trinity the chance to blow them away in the end. A remarkable turnaround!