Trojans welcomed back Richmond who they had played earlier in the season for this intriguing tie in the National Colts Plate Competition with a passage to the final 16 on offer to the winning team. With grey clouds overhead and a heavy pitch both teams hoped that the predicted rains held off.
Following last weeks slow start skipper JC had rallied the troops and they were quickly into their stride from the kick off winning an early penalty which went just wide.
Trojans pack with Mikey G and George C dominant were driving forward at every occasion with each Richmond counter attack rebuffed by the Trojans defence. Trojans were camped in the Richmond 22 but went away each time with nothing to show for their efforts. Soon Trojans were awarded another penalty with Tom KO took advantage of to put the home team in the lead 3-0. This seemed to spark Richmond into life making their first real foray into the Trojans half led by their determined no 8.
The home team were on the back foot showing resolute defence with David M outstanding and defiant. A dangerous tackle by a Trojans player led to a yellow card and a penalty which Richmond took ,3-3. Trojans were now down to 14 and were under the cosh for the next 2-3 minutes but were resolute in defence and soon started counter attacking with determination and flair.
Late in the half Richmond won three lineouts near the Trojans line and each time Trojans held firm. From the third lineout Mikey G in determined fashion drove the Richmond attackers back.
Half Time 3-3
The second half started again with Trojans moving into the Richmond half with Dan W making a number of carries from deep. The Trojans backs were also getting more involved with Harry J and Tom KO working the line and Wes C along with Ben S probing the Richmond defence.
Tom KO took another penalty chance to take the score to 6-3. Trojans at this stage removed the forward pairing of George C and Tom N who had both put in a huge amount of work .
Richmond were absorbing the Trojans pressure and looked dangerous on the counter attack, the match was tightly balanced and could have gone either way.
Trojans won a line out 10 metres out which was well taken by JT and from the subsequent rolling maul Trojans almost crossed the line being held up just short.
Harry J quickly recycled to Charlie C who saw the opportunity to take off and dive across the line to score Trojans first try to take the score to 11-3. Trojans bought on Josh G for Eddie J and set up for the restart with JC urging the team to concentrate and retain the ball.
Undeterred Richmond came back with their influential no 10 orchestrating the play they pushed into Trojans half. Despite showing strong defence in the game so far a lapse of concentration allowed the visitors to break through midfield and score in the corner to take the score to 11-8. The tension could be felt around the pitch with the game finely poised as we entered the last 10 minutes.
Richmond sensing this was their time came forward again with the whole Trojans team focussing on defence and holding on.To relieve the pressure prop Charlie C seized on a loose ball and launched a 50 metre kick to touch deep in Richmond territory.
From a Trojans line out the forwards drove on across the Richmond 22 and into the red zone. Last weeks try creator JC turned scorer this week driving across the line in a determined manner to score,16-8 Trojans with 5 minutes to go.
Richmond did try to come back again but the Trojans team held firm to end up winners. 16 – 8 and progress into the last 16 of the competition.
The game was a great example of rugby in tough conditions played fairly and in good spirit with both sides having respect for each other.
Afterwards JC congratulated the team on their collective effort as a squad and a great result. The coaches highlighted the total squad ethos was working well and shone through today.
There is still more to work to do and improve as the team develops however today was about celebrating the result. Afterwards the teams enjoyed a meal including beef burgers kindly donated by Billy Owton
Man of the match was awarded to David M who on his return to the team was outstanding but also meant he got the muddiest set of shirts of the season so far to wash.