Trojans U16's Chiefs v Winchester 25th February 2018
A loss in the league in a 'Tale of Two Halves'
Trojans Chiefs 24 Winchester 47
The twice re-arranged final league match of the season against Winchester eventually took place, but only after a delayed start due to frozen ground. The kick-off was moved back to midday. The referee was Ian Jarvis, at the request of Winchester. For the Trojans, the morning started badly when two players were declared unfit to play, leaving only 15 fit players and no substitutes to take on the Hampshire champions.
The boys were asked to take the initiative at the start of the game and physically dominate their opponents. Instead, they repeatedly surrendered possession to Winchester, with a complete lack of intensity and control at the breakdown. That, and some poor tackling, allowed Winchester to run in a succession of 5 converted tries. Thus, the game was technically won by half-time (with a maximum points difference of 35). Trojans did at least show some signs of getting their act together in the last five minutes and really should have scored themselves. They put together a series of phases and got into a great attacking position a few metres out, but Josh's attempt to get over the line was thwarted. To add to their woes, Trojans lost Oscar after only 20 minutes with a back injury. As agreed before the match, Winchester took a player off to ensure that both teams had equal numbers.
The coaches of both teams agreed to continue the match and that gave the Chiefs an opportunity to forget about the first half and start again. The message to the boys was that they were a better team than the first half scoreline indicated. The boys continued to raise their game and turned the second half into a completely different match. They didn't help themselves though when a promising attack by the backs ended in a handling error which was pounced on by Winchester's 13, their outstanding player, and he ran the ball back up the pitch to score, extending their lead to 42-0. To their credit, Trojans continued to take the game to Winchester and were finally rewarded after 10 minutes when Ash crashed over for a well earned try. The boys were now gaining the ascendancy and soon after captain Euan ran in a try under the posts for Matt to convert.
However, the Winchester backs remained dangerous and their 13 added another excellent try from long range. The score was now 12-47. However, it was Trojans who finished the game better, scoring two more tries in the last 20 minutes and conceding none. Christian deservedly scored the Chief's third try, converted by Josh. Then full-back Ben scampered down the touchline to complete the scoring. The boys had won the second half 24-12. A tremendously spirited comeback. It demonstrated that they have the ability to hurt teams like Winchester and have the desire and fitness overcome difficult circumstances - after all 14 Trojans played three-quarters of the match against a quality squad of 23 Winchester players. The match was lost but it was excellent preparation for the coming plate semi-final.