By Michael Gaskin
Trinity sought to get their season back on track after back-to-back away losses to Malone and Belfast Harlequins. While they did come away with a losing bonus point from both games they were in need of a win to keep in touch with those also chasing a promotion spot.
They played well in parts a poor first-half showing in which they never threatened the Midleton try line and a disjointed passing display really should have laid to rest any chance of victory. However a gritty second half performance saw them haul themselves back into a game that looked like Midleton had wrapped up after the hour mark.
Trinity began the brighter of the two sides and quickly set about probing the Midleton defence. Their opening salvo into the Midleton 22 was as good as it was for Trinity in the first half, as the visitors began to physically impose themselves on the game.
Over the course of the next ten minutes, Midleton had three chances to score. However their full back sliced his penalty to the right and wide of the uprights. Immediately after the restart the Midleton number 8 went on a marauding run through the heart of the Trinity defence only to be hauled 5 metres short of try line. At the third time of asking Midleton finally got the score their dominance deserved. Their full back slotted over penalty 5 metres in front of the posts.
Midleton continued to keep Trinity on the back foot over the next twenty-five minutes, giving the home side little chance to play the open flowing rugby they excel at. After a Midleton lineout on the Trinity 22, their number 8 went on another rampaging run at the Trinity defence and offloaded for Middleton’s’ open-side flanker to slide in the corner. Their kicking once again let them down as their full back missed the conversion from out on the sideline.
Shortly after the half-hour mark, Trinity suffered a double blow. Firstly they lost winger Shane Hanratty to the sin bin for the rest of the half and then Midleton extended their lead further when their winger weaved his way through the Trinity defence to score in the corner. With another conversion missed Trinity felt they were still in with a chance.
Right on the stroke of half time full back Tim McCoy decided to try his luck from the half way line with an ambitious penalty kick. While it had the legs it lacked in accuracy as it drifted harmlessly to the left and wide, to give Midleton a 13 – 0 at the break.
Ten minutes into the second half and with a full complement of players, Trinity used their scrum to excellent effect as they drove over the Midleton try line for Scott La Valla to touch down directly in front of the posts. With Ciaran Wade slotting over the extras, Trinity had the score back to 13-7 and were back in the game.
Six minutes later they Midleton’s full back effortlessly broke the trinity line and offloaded to the ball to their winger to slide in .Even with the conversion missed Midleton now had 18 points to 7 lead and looked in a strong position to close out the game.
Shortly after the hour mark Trinity began to empty their bench hoping fresh legs would break down a leggy Midleton side. It looked like it had paid dividends for them as with eight minutes remaining Conor Colclough danced his way through the visitors defence and laid the ball off for Tim McCoy to score in the corner. With 8 minutes left in the game the home side were once again in with a shout of claiming unlikely victory.
In the last few minutes of the game Trinity began to turn the screw on a tired-looking Midleton team. With a scrum 5 metres from the Midleton goal and time now over Trinity put in one final push and James Gethings barged his way over the line to make it a one-point game with a conversion to come. Unluckily for Trinity the conversion, like their comeback, fell just short.