Downing fight off Trinity to keep themselves in contention
Downing 15 – 10 Trinity
One man in a yellow shirt versus 30 players. Both sides can be forgiven for thinking the ref was having a laugh at everyone else’s expense. He certainly has an unconventional ‘stop start’ image of rugby.
Downing player Rich Bennet described his decisions as “woefully inconsistent” adding that everyone was “generally confused” – “whenever he blew up no one could second guess what he was going to give”.
Pundits anticipation of a high scoring match and Downing victory were was short lived by the error strewn show. Both teams struggled to keep any level of control at the breakdown and this problem was compounded by a referee determined to award as many unwarranted scrums as possible. The official also appeared to be untroubled by the onset of darkness.
Trinity never really looked like breaking the opposition’s stone wall defence. On three occasions the Trinity back three picked the ball up deep and beat a host of the non aligned magenta stripes but these penetrating runs weren’t really characteristic of their backs moves.
The Downing midfield broke the gain line time and time again but couldn’t quite convert in the final fifth. The first try came midway through the first half; Keith Shagyard using his unorthodox ‘Michael Johnson’ running style to good effect, side stepping a number of rooted defenders to carry it over.
Trinity, to their credit, hit back quick; scoring straight from the kick off. The ball was hoisted high and long. It bounced and rolled towards the line to be scooped up and slammed down buy the speediest of Trinity’s pack. Impressive conversions from both sides.
The game however was soon interrupted by the need for an Addenbrooks Ambulance; the second to cart of a Downing player in three weeks.
After half time, Trinity were on the back foot for the first 10 – 15 mins, but they managed to kick themselves out of trouble. Kicking seemed to be the game plan. Big boots, well placed kicks and Downing catching errors meant that Trinity progressively moved up the pitch as time went on.
Uncontested scrums provided plenty of solid attacking platforms of trinity in the final third. They ran the ball and shipped it wide but with Downing’s defence, no longer as vulnerable to kicks, was much more organised and soaked up the pressure.
Full league roundup and tables to follow.