Christ Church 15 – 17 Trinity/LMH After a titanic match, in which the pressure of the occasion seemed at times to overwhelm both sides, it was eventually Trinity/LMH that emerged victorious. In doing so they secured their own place in the top flight and at the same time consigning Christ Church to the second Division for next season. The result left the two sides tied on four points, and by virtue of their victory today, Trinity/LMH will remain in Division One next Michaelmas. The game began on an even footing, and with some hard running around the fringes of the ruck Trinity/LMH began to make some inroads into the Christ Church defence. However, they could not escape some committed tackling, and after this early assault the momentum began to shift towards the home side. The penalty count was high from both sides, but Trinity/LMH began to find themselves pushed further and further back into their own twenty-two. By the twenty minute mark, they were fighting doggedly in defence, unable to hold onto the ball for more than a phase or two. However, Christ Church had problems of their own, they were finding it impossible to get point on the board, and although the defence they faced was solid, they were not making it easy for themselves. Lineouts were missed, the ball was dropped and penalties were conceded. Two kicks at goal were missed, and several opportunities for tries went begging. Just as it seemed as though the first score was never coming, suddenly a flash of brilliance. A turnover, a blindside break by captain Christopher Perfect and quick ball spread out wide saw Christ Church full back Jamie Holdoway going over in the corner. The relief was palpable, even though the conversion was missed, the Christ Church side seemed to think that a corner had been turned. However, almost directly from the kick off Trinity/LMH scored almost under the posts, and when their fly-half knocked over a penalty on top of the conversion, suddenly Christ Church found themselves five points down at the change of ends, and ruing the missed chances of the first half. The second half was a far more evenly contested, and the introduction of flanker Ian Horn gave an extra impetus to Christ Church in both the defence and attack. When a cleverly worked move with Horn running down the five-metre channel of a lineout resulted in a try, the scores were level and a thrilling last half an hour was set up. Trinity/LMH gained the advantage when Christ Church scrum half Gareth Davies was sent to the sin-bin, and looked to have sealed the tie with a try in the corner, only for the referee to disallow it for double movement. The decisive moment came with a penalty try, the Christ Church pack penalised for collapsing a scrum on the five metre line. This set up a desperate last five minutes, with iconic Christ Church centre Duncan Chiah forcing a score out on the left. Fly half Ashley Gillard stepped up to take the kick that would keep his side in the First Division, but it fell agonisingly short, and his side will have to begin next year in the second Jack Marsh