Match report by Gerry Murphy
Counties League 1 Surrey/Sussex
Twickenham 39 Trinity 19
A much better performance than the score suggests.
After last week’s mauling by Vandals, Trinity started tighter and determined not to give away early scores. They were soon in an attacking position after a cheeky kick down the line by Harry Wilson. A solid Twickenham line out enable them to clear but Trinity stuck at their task with Fuad Agbalaya prominent. A crunching tackle and turnover by Andy Dean resulted in a puzzling penalty against him. Another penalty for offside gave the home fly half Tom Foster the chance to open the scoring for the hosts with a straightforward kick after 9 minutes. Skipper Ali Hall produced a good burst of speed to bring Trinity to the 22 but they were unable to sustain the pressure and Twickenham, with the edge in set pieces, were not going to make things any easier for them. A big scrum from Twickenham deep in the Trinity 22 won them a penalty and, as they understandably opted for another scrum, Trinity dug in well to resist the expected push over attempt. No.8 Nick Smith had other ideas and picked up at the base to find a gap and score. Foster’s conversion increased the lead to 10-0 after 16 minutes.
Trinity winger Ty Williams made a fine catch at the kick off and, when Twickenham were penalised for offside and then marched back for not retreating, fly half Jack Greenwood had a chance to narrow the gap but his penalty attempt drifted wide.
Twickenham came again but good carrying and tackling from Agbalaya gave heart to Trinity. They were undone in the next attack, however, as Twickenham went through the phases to put centre Jack Metcalfe over for their second try. Trinity came more into the game now after a fine break and run by Temi Okenla. A late tackle on Max Maynard produced a chance to kick to the corner but touch was missed. Trinity then produced a big scrum to win a penalty, but the subsequent line out was taken by Twickenham. The visitors did win more ball with Maynard being hoisted in the line out, but Twickenham scored again to lead 22-0. There was not such a big gap between the teams in terms of territory or possession, but the hosts took their chances and were clinical in their finishing. Trinity did get on the scoreboard just before the interval. Ben Telfer found the corner with a penalty and Trinity mauled well from the line out. A drive to the line by Hall was followed by another from Adam Stammers who grounded for the try. Greenwood kicked a good conversion. The score at the interval was 22-7.
At the resumption Trinity had to defend and Hall seemed to have won a turnover but was penalised and Foster increased the home lead to 25-7. Trinity now had their best period and produced a spirited move of good handling. A fine break by Krish Lall unfortunately resulted in a high tackle on him which put him out of the game. Trinity now found good field positions, but two lost line outs undid all the good work. Instead, they had to defend again and did well to stop Twickenham replacement Dan Rose who was running an impressive line at pace. The visitors had another period of good handling now and the line out was working better. Dave Spedding produced two fine catches and drove forward. Greenwood linked well with his runners and the passage of play ended with Telfer producing a weaving run to score. Greenwood’s conversion narrowed the gap to 25-14 and Trinity could see better prospects. A turnover by Stammers and excellent sidestepping run by Williams deserved better. Twickenham had been denied their bonus point by the Trinity fightback, but they did gain it, despite some fine defence tackling by Dean. Rose was too quick as Twickenham created space on the right.
Trinity came back with another strong run from Okenla and then some sparkling handling involving him, Dean and Greenwood ended when Wilson sent a long pass out to Williams in space, and he outpaced the cover to score. It was too late for Trinity to save the game, but they should have done better to tidy up from the kick off when they failed to control the ball and Smith had an easy task to pick up and score his second. The final tally does not reflect a strong performance by Trinity against a talented and well-balanced Twickenham outfit.
They will need to produce a similar spirit when they entertain high-flying Tiffinians next weekend.