Match report by Simon McInnes
Trinity A XV 26 Purley John Fisher 7
This always shaped to be a game in need of innovative thinking, with the Mids starting only one specialist back (Jamal being consigned to a slot safely out of the way at full back) and the half back roles seeing the flexible Farmer R at nine and Mark Macaskill in the role of stand-in stand off.
Shamefully stereotyping the visitors based on size and shape, PJF may not have been in a similarly unbalanced selection boat. We were also blessed by a fleeting visit, as spectator, from former player Norm Green, now resident in the far east and presumably bored with his rain being warm.
Initially the strategy seemed to be to occupy ten phases in covering ten metres and then knock the ball forward. To the amazement of nobody at all, this led to the score being 0-0 after twenty-two minutes but things were looking up as the tactics had evolved into use of the sort of close passes that forwards like – and if someone drops it they can always blame accidental contact in the crowd before the catch. It also helped that centres Fuad Agbalaya and David Hoffman were being able to worm their way into the open field every so often. The deadlock was broken from close range by debut making prop Reion, which was converted. The game was decided in the last five minutes of the half when Jamal scored and one of the now interchangeable Hoffman brothers sprung Reion from thirty metres for his second score. It may sound like the plot of a 1930s gangster jailbreak film, but it worked in rugby as well, leaving the halftime score at 19-0, although PJF did have the slope in their favour for the second half.
The break brought an infusion of new legs, with Zou coming on (was injured, arrived well after the already late kick-off, but brought his kit anyway) and this gave the debut making referee some good practice in penalising players for joining rucks from the side. More significantly for followers of traditional alignments of players to positions Dave Stanton came on to play scrum half. Theoretically this should have added some structure to the play but the players outside him were not sold on the concept and the weather also took a turn for the worse. The result was that the second half scoring was limited to an exchange of converted tries, with the game ending 26-7 and Reion making it a hat trick on club debut. The outcome was also a compliment to the defensive discipline of the lumpy three-quarter line and in truth neither side created much to threaten the try line above the score each that they got.
Mark Macaskill insisted that the report include a reference to a big crossfield kick of his in the second half that resulted in the elusive 50-22 gaining the line out. It should also be added that at the lineout thus won, Trinity actually conceded a penalty, rendering it valueless. And a mention also should be made of a kick in the first half that was so inaccurate that it went dead out of the try area without even bouncing. One astute team mate, seeing the hoof being lined up shouted “No Sparky!” Needless to say, the wise advice was ignored.
Putting all sarcasm aside, this was a good result against an opposition that had been doing well in the A XV league.