Ellingham and Ringwood 12 Trojans Chiefs 15
Trojans Chiefs were asked to up the level of intensity and aggression in the contact area. The boys did exactly that and this proved to be the difference between the two teams.
The Chiefs were caught cold in the early stages when E+R attacked with intensity resulting in them powering over for a try after only a few minutes. The Chiefs responded well and went on to play for long periods in the opposition half. Unfortunately the Chiefs backs failed to use good possession by kicking or running into contact when we had overlaps. The forwards tackled hard and competed well at the breakdowns with newly found aggression, typified by Euan and man of the match Thomas. There was an injury break whilst an E+R player was removed from the game and their only sub was brought on. Not long after another E+R player had to be taken off. E+R continued but were fielding only 14 players. However, we believed this to be temporary - it was only after the match that we found both injured players had been taken to hospital. The referee (one of their coaches) failed to explain the situation and so we focussed on getting back in the game. The equalizing try eventually came when the backs screamed for the ball and this time shipped it to Rodrigo on the wing who finished well. However, the boys switched off in injury time and allowed an E+R winger to make a break from half way and score their second try. This was converted to leave Trojans down 12-5 at half-time.
The Chiefs started the second half in dominant mood. A big push from the forwards allowed Josh to feed Ash who crashed over in typical fashion. Matt was having an off day with the boot and missed the conversion, so Trojans were still trailing 12-10. The scrum was much more effective than it had been against Winchester and the line-outs were working well. This meant that we enjoyed more possession. Then came the try of the match. Thomas picked the ball up from a ruck in his own half and made a scrum-half break, beating the first defender with an excellent dummy and charging 20 metres up the pitch. He then passed to Joseph who was in close support and carried the ball another 20 metres before passing to Oscar who ran in for the try. It was great to see such skill and athleticism from our front five forwards. The conversion was missed, but the scoreboard now reflected the Chief's increasing superiority. They were starting to hit top form and we were expecting them to go on and win well. However, another injury break saw one of the E+R props removed from the game. The referee first asked that we go to uncontested scrums and then came over again offering to concede the match, explaining that they only had 11 fit players remaining. I could see another couple of players receiving attention on the sidelines and felt obliged to accept. It was like a referee stopping a boxing match to save further punishment. It was a case of damage limitation for E+R. They could see that we would have gone on to win and would rather protect their players. They only have a squad of 17 players and another league match to come next week.
We did not protest and left it in the hands of the County to make a judgement, with the assumption that Trojans would be awarded the points. This has yet to be confirmed, but I am in touch with the league organizer and will let everyone know the outcome in due course.