RUGBY: Trowbridge skipper toasts Twickenham chance
TROWBRIDGE captain Matt Howard is coming to terms with the prospect of leading his side out at the home of English rugby in a fortnight's time after his side booked their place at the RFU Intermediate Cup final yesterday.
The Wiltshire men survived a determined rally from home side Guildford to win their semi final 19-17 and book a Twickenham appointment with Staffordshire outfit Leek in the final on Sunday, May 4.
Trowbridge had stormed into a 19-0 lead early on as winger James Davies, number eight Shane Johnstone and full-back Jackson Szabo scored tries, Lloyd Davis adding two conversions.
But the Southern Counties Soth runners-up were forced to hang on in a nerve-shredding second half, in which replacement Karl Perry was sin-binned and centre Joe Knight sent off for an alleged kick.
Howard: "It's unbelievable (to get the chance to lead his side out at Twickenham). It's a once in a lifetime opportunity - probably more than that.
"We'll just try and enjoy the moment really.''
Howard admitted the last few moments had seemed like a lifetime as his side gamely hung on.
"Time seems to go a lot slower when you are playing,'' he added.
"It was a fantastic start but we knew they were always going to come back, being as good as they are.
"But like all season really, we prided ourselves on our defence, even down to 13 men at one stage.''
Trowbridge head coach Steve Ojomoh admitted his emotions had got the better of him as his side ensured he will return to the Twickenham stage he graced many times as a player for both Bath and England.
"It's fantastic. I'm really pleased for us. That small town outside Bath is going to Twickenham and it's great.
"I was very emotional after the game. As a player when I was there (Twickenham), it felt like a bit of a given, 'see you back there next year' sort of thing.
"Now, coaching, I wished I'd enjoyed those moments more. I've got that chance as a coach now to savour it, because you don't know when, or if, you will go back there.''
He added: "We wanted to really get a big start and make this like a home match for us.
"It was two good sides. They had the ball for the first five minutes but what was great was we held our shape and kept defending and defending and when we got opportunities we took them.
"Then within a 25 minute spell we were 19-0 up. We sat back a little but and I said to the guys we've got to be a little hungrier than that.''
MORE REACTION TO TROWBRIDGE'S HISTORIC VICTORY, PLUS ALL THE PICTURES FROM A MEMORABLE DAY AT GUILDFORD AT WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK/SPORT THROUGHOUT THE WEEK AND IN NEXT WEEK'S WILTSHIRE TIMES
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