SOUTH WEST INTERMEDIATE CUP FINAL: Trowbridge 20 Ivybridge 15
Updated 2:49pm Monday 24th February 2014 in By Owen Houlihan
TROWBRIDGE are one win away from a dream appearance at Twickenham after clinching the South West Intermediate Cup in dramatic style at Doric Park on Saturday.
Steve Ojomoh's side continued their fairytale cup run by reaching the national last four as tries from captain Matt Howard and Mark Durant saw off Western Counties West leaders Ivybridge in a thoroughly absorbing tie.
The Wiltshire men now await the winners of the London & South West tournament, the semi finals of which took place at the weekend, with Old Priorians beating Rochford Hundred 28-12 and Guildford edging past Sevenoaks 27-25, at a later date.
The home side thoroughly deserved their triumph in front of a large phalanx of spectators, victory being built around a supreme forwards effort and a all-suffocating defence that kept the Devon side away from their try line.
Ivybridge, through the precision boot of fly-half Matt Grieveson, set up a grandstand finish as they ate into Trowbridge's lead but, despite possessing a potent-looking back line, came up short against a rearguard that simply refused to yield.
With the wind in their favour in the first half, Trowbridge looked to establish field position but it was the visitors, who started better, Grieveson escaping through the middle but then missing a close-range penalty to the right of the posts.
Trowbridge had lock Alan Chadwick harshly sin-binned by referee Simon Walker for scragging galloping full-back Tom Scoles by the collar, but the hosts' forward power was always much in evidence.
With number eight Adam Sullivan rampaging from number eight, they earned a penalty from which centre Lloyd Davis kicked them into the lead and, despite being a man down in the scrum, Trowbridge shunted their rivals backwards on frequent occasions.
The home side lost centre Dan Smith after a blow to the head, but the pattern remained undisrupted in the forwards as Ivybridge were forced onto their heels.
Davis doubled his side's advantage with a superb wind-assisted penalty from halfway before Grieveson immediately replied.
Both sides went close as half time approached, Ivybridge butchering a clear overlap with the line beckoning before the under-pressure visitors showed commendable defensive attributes to repel wave after wave of Trowbridge attacks from close-range scrummages.
Trowbridge were immediately on the offensive as Ivybridge botched the seconnd-half kick-off and scrum-half Kyle Knight was held up just short.
The try the home side craved arrived 12 minutes in to the second period as Howard expertly clawed in a lineout throw and sent substitute back row Shane Johnstone charging towards the line. The big man was held up but slipped the ball back to Howard who forced his way over.
Davis converted for a ten-point lead, but Grieveson landed an excellent long-range penalty to keep his side in touch.
The home side appeared to have wrapped up the win on the hour mark as Ivybridge erred on their own lineout throw near their own line and the pack drove over the whitewash, Durant emerging to receive the back-slaps of his teammates.
Davis added the extras and, with a 14 point lead, Trowbridge looked almost home and dry.
But Grieveson ensured a tense finale, landing three penalties - two from long range - to cut the gap down to five.
Trowbridge threatened to wrap matters up as they pounded the Ivybridge line in the final 10 minutes before the attacks came to nothing as the ball went wide.
The visitors broke out and worked their way into opposition territory but, as they tried to manufacture a rolling maul off a lineout, Trowbridge's superb defence forced the turnover and started the celebrations.
READ COACH STEVE OJOMOH'S REACTION AT WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK/SPORT AND REACTION & PICTURES FROM TROWBRIDGE'S TRIUMPH IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES