Trojans Academy boarded the coach to Gravesend for the 2.5 hour journey to their National Colts Plate tie hoping to halt a run of narrow losses and progress to the next round of the competition.
The welcome the squad received at Gravesend was great and very much about what Rugby should be.
The game kicked off in front of a crowd of around 300 people including the 11 Trojans supporters who had made the journey. Trojans were quickly into their stride and kept the pressure on the home team. David M was tireless in his work and made tackle after tackle.Will B was direct and aggressive in his tackling working alongside David in holding up each Gravesend attack. Tom KO conducted affairs from 10 probing away at the Gravesend defence. The pressure led to Trojans first try when the forwards moved the ball through phase after phase until they released Dan W to drive his way over the line; 0-5. Tom KO kicked the conversion ,0-7. Trojans had due reward for their ascendancy in the first 10 minutes.
Gravesend took the chance to regroup and came back at Trojans but were rebuffed as Trojans pressured the home team deep in their half. Having to resort to kicking for territory Gravesend altered their game plan and it drew a reward. The home team were awarded a line out in the Trojans 22 which they managed to move through their forwards finally ending up with try which they converted ,7-7. Gravesend were in positive mood with their 9 controlling their game through their 8 and 12. As the match heated up half time was reached with the score 7-7.
The second half started with Gravesend soon gaining territory as Trojans were slow out of the blocks.Two missed tackles from Trojans allowed a Gravesend attacker to make 30 yards and pass the ball to a team mate who scored. With the conversion taken the home team led 14-7 with 25 minutes to go. Trojans were shell shocked but skipper JC drew them together and they came back in a determined manner with Tom N, Ben S and the influential Wes C all taking the game to the home team.Charlie MC had come on at half time and he was noticeable in the rucks and in the fringes. The intensity built in the game with each side tackling in hard but fair way. The referee managed to keep a calm head and control the game well. When Wes C was taken out in the air Trojans resolve seemed to increase. All afternoon Trojans had been stealing ball in mauls and rucks and this continued.
A kick deep into Gravesend territory chased down by Harry C and Sam W led to a maul from which David M stole the ball and rolled over in the far corner to take the score to 14-12 .The calm Tom KO slotted the kick from the touch line to level the scores at 14-14. The home team became noticeably more aggressive playing hard around the fringes. The Gravesend no 8 took an opportunity out of the referees sight to punch the Trojans 9 from behind whilst the ball was at the other end of the field and this seemed to motivate Trojans more . A line out led to the ball being moved to the backs who then released Wes C to score from 10 metres, 14-19. Tom KO converted to make it 14-21 with 5 minutes to go. Under the rules of the competition in the event of a draw the away team went through. Gravesend now had to score twice. The tension built as the away team defended and pushed Gravesend back.However the home team created a move which led to a try from a rolling maul which they converted; 21-21.With the conversion completed the final whistle was blown to bring this exciting game to an end.
Both teams had put their all into an enthralling cup tie and were all applauded off of the pitch by the home fans.
In the Trojans huddle there was relief and huge amount of satisfaction in what they had achieved in what was a tough game against a resolute Gravesend side.
The coaches and team knew there was a performance in the team and this was a step in the right direction.
Tom KO was selected as man of the match.
Thanks must go out to Gravesend for being great hosts putting on a great day.