Author Archives: Paul Clarke

Ealing Trailfinders 1871 55 – 29 Actonians

After a long struggle to gain acceptance in the national league structure, the newly affiliated Ealing Trailfinders 1871 team finally made its debut in Herts Middlesex 2 on a warm mid-September afternoon against local rivals Actonians, and despite a sluggish start eventually came good to score nine tries in an entertaining encounter.

The historic occasion was watched by a sizable crowd, whose cheers turned to groans when Actonians notched two tries in the opening quarter, seizing on Ealing errors. Undaunted by the early setback, 1871 gained the upper hand and increasingly looked the more likely team to score, and full back Nathan Oti duly touched down for the team’s first try in the league. Slick passing along the back line led to an equalising try by centre Afzaal Mir, swiftly followed by another score by Oti, who also added the conversion. In the last play of the first half flanker Luke Parry capped a man-of-the-match performance with his team’s fourth try, securing a bonus point in the process.

Brimming with confidence after a strong end to the first half, 1871 put the contest beyond doubt on the re-start, with scores by replacement Haseen Hashim and prop Tim Hitchcock, stretching for the line for his second try in two weeks. Actonians never gave up, and with 30 minutes left on the clock scored under the posts. Just 3 minutes later the gap was restored with a fine try by Jack Marsh on the right wing. Second row Liam Woolford ran powerfully to notch his team’s eighth try before Hasim scored again. Actonians, having already secured their own try bonus, finally added their fifth and game’s fourteenth try.

Next Saturday, 21 September, 1871 will aim to build on their successful start to the league season on the short away trip to West London.

Ealing 1871: Nathan Oti, Arian Shehu, Paulo Kretteis, Afzaal Mir, Chris Monponbanua, Harrison Slater, Lucas Brathwaite, Tim Hitchcock, Liam McDonagh, Andrew Barton, Sean Kennett, Nyall Wake, Matvey Boguslavskiy, Luke Parry. Replacements: Liam Woolford, Haseen Hashim, Jack Marsh

Bob “The Dog” Cordiner RIP

The Club’s members were saddened to learn of the passing of Bob Cordiner on Monday 2nd September. Bob was very well known at the Club when we played at Horsenden Hill were he was involved in running the bar, becoming bar chairman for several years until we moved to Valis Way. He kept Larry Redmond, Micky Carroll and Allen Lewis under control! He was commonly known as ‘Bob the dog’ because his dog, a bloodhound, always preceded him into the Clubhouse. Bob was from Aberdeen and was a warden at Holloway prison before he retired. He was made Vice President in the early 90s.

After the move to Vallis Way he saw most of the first team games and often travelled to the away games. He was a great chap and will be sadly missed by all his friends on the touchline.

Rest in Peace Bob.

George Clempson

Evergreens 66 – 14 Wasps Vets

“Evergreens take the sting out of Wasps”

Boom! What a way to start the new season, with a seriously strong starting XV (thanks Jacko for working with Wardy to get a few old friends out) on a calm September Friday evening, perfect for running rugby at Fortress Vallis, ending with a convincing victory against our vespid rivals from W3.

The tone was set from the start with a focused warm-up and solid catch and drive after Wasps kicked off. The first try of the new season was claimed by Peter Hodgkinson in the 4th minute, after a poor opposition dink was collected by Owen Bruynseels just inside our half, spun left with a pin point pass releasing Phil Chesters to make the significant ground, allowing him Hodgy a simple finish just a little too wide for Wardy to convert.

The forwards were not to be outshone and won a penalty deep in opposition territory, having won a scrum against the head after a crushing drive. The ensuing kick to touch and line out catch & drive resulted in a converted try. Dominance followed with a Chesters try from the kick-off, set up by a powerful run by Pup, then an Evergreens first for Owen P and a penalty try as Wasps reeled under the onslaught; 35 minutes in and over 30 unanswered points. Halftime must have come not a moment too soon for this set of yellow jackets.

However, once Fenlon had scored a clinical converted try from the back of the scrum to put us 40-0 up Wasps began to claw their way back into the game. Their 13 wearing centre, looking decidedly like a diet of Royal jelly was to blame for his youthful looks, scored under the posts and then the forwards swarmed to make it 40-14. Whilst Jake reminded us why we missed our talismatic skipper last season scoring in the left corner, Scouse reminded us why we didn’t by scoring only a yellow card for giving the referee a little too much barristerial back chat M’Lord.

But the Evergreens regrouped, settled the new backline of Tony Paul, Joe Price, Verma & Tel and scoring 3 further converted tries & allowing this manager to get everyone on the pitch at some point during the evening. They do say leave the best to last though and Wardy did that. This was not his almost flawless conversion kicking but, having ignoring three strong available runners, it was the cross field kick to find Owen P (how did he know he would be there…ESP I guess), who ran in our final try.

Gentlemen a fine start to the season, but it will be long and hard as we know. We need to continue this high standard if we are to regain our rightful place at the top of the Middlesex Vets Merit Table and earn the right to play the Surrey Vets winners for local bragging rights in the planned end of season play-off final. Next game is Friday 11th October (UCS Old Boys).

Team: Ash/Abdou/Lee Evans/Tim Sudworth/Darren Brodrick/Jake Usher (Capt)/Pup/John Fenlon/Paddy Gill/Ben Ward/Owen Bruynseels/Eddie Beck/Peter Hodgkinson/Phil Chesters/Eggnog/Joe Price/Anthony Lynch/Jon Harrison/Dan Ford/Jacko/Tony Paul/Steve Verma/Terry Thompson/Alex Brown/John Ronane

Ealing 1871 U23s 29 – 29 Maidenhead

Rarely is the old cliché of a game of two halves more appropriate than in the first game played by the 1871 Under 23s in Zoo Shield Division 2 against newly promoted Maidenhead. With a seemingly impregnable lead of 29-0 with a minute to go until the break, Ealing lost focus and in the end had to hang on for a short of the spoils.

With the advantage of the breeze in the first half, Ealing started well, putting the visitors under pressure after they knocked on from the kick-off. The home pack looked to have the edge, but a succession of penalties enabled Maidenhead to relieve the pressure. However, on the quarter-hour mark a fine break by centre Paulo Kretteis led to a try by flanker Matvej Boguslavskij from recycled ball, converted by fly half Enrico Rolfo. Five minutes later a second try followed through prop Tim Hitchcock, fed by hooker Liam McDonagh, Rolfo adding the extras from close to the posts. A few minutes later wing Arian Shehu made a strong break down the left wing, was stopped but recovered to score an unconverted try. A fine try by flanker Luke Parry followed, evading last-ditch tackles by going low. Rolfo converted and added a penalty to leave Ealing handily placed at 29-0. With the last move of the first half Maidenhead put their first points on the board with a forwards’ try under the posts to leave the score at the interval 29-7.

Ealing had taken their foot off the pedal for the last 5 minutes of the first half and proceeded to play long periods of the second half in their own half, with the dominant visitors making full use of a stiffening breeze. Maidenhead ate steadily into the deficit to gain a try bonus point to match Ealing’s, and with the home side hanging on desperately and losing two men to the sin bin a fifth try followed in time added on. Fortunately for Ealing the ball was touched down wide out on the right, and with the conversion missed the game ended in a high-scoring draw, which was probably overall a fair reflection of the 80 minutes of play.

Ealing: Tim Hitchcock, Liam McDonagh, Andrew Barton, Liam Woolford, Jon McKeogh, Matvey Boguslavskij, Luke Parry, Oscar Avis, Lucas Brathwaite, Enrico Rolfo, Jack Marsh, Afzaal Mir, Paulo Kretteis, Arian Shehu, Nathan Oti, Jack Hobbs, Olawafunbi Osuntoki, Neil Taylor, Adam Gilbert, Alex Gillespie, Jesse Otway

Next Saturday, 15 September, Ealing 1871 make their long-awaited debut in the national leagues, with a Herts Middlesex 2 home fixture against local rivals Old Actonians.

G J “Willie” Williams RIP

We regret to announce the death of Life Member and Past President (1974 – 1979) Willie Williams in Ealing Hospital on 5th September 2019 at the age of 97. He was a proud Welsh scrum half who was a great servant of the Club. A valleys boy from Llanharan who came to London in 1937 with his family in search of work as a result of the Depression, he played for the Club before the Second World War and afterwards, while serving in the army for 25 years during and after the war. He filled many administrative roles for the Club with distinction. A fitting tribute will be made here in due course as well as an announcement of the funeral arrangements when they are available.

Mixed Ability rugby at Ealing

This is a pioneering project to involve people with disabilities in rugby.

Mixed Ability Rugby Union teams have able-bodied players alongside team-mates with learning and/or physical disabilities. 

Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club aims to create such a team and become part of a vibrant community club run by volunteers, offering disabled women and men in London, from the age of 18,  the opportunity to play rugby.

The new team looks to support mixed ability rugby in Ealing: hosted by qualified coaches, offering excellent state-of-the-art facilities. We will commence non-contact training on Tuesday 3rd September at Vallis way, starting at 7:00pm for an hour or so, aiming to have similar sessions throughout the autumn every other Tuesday.

Our aim is to provide a safe, enjoyable and competitive environment for those usually unable to join in main-stream rugby; for more details please contact either Paul Hoban (07534 910 892 or Brendan O’Flaherty (07939 552 566

See file for more details

Men’s rugby with the Masaai Red tribe

International Impact – rugby from all around the world

We continue to deliver on our aim of supporting inclusive rugby at every level – this time with Sean ‘Lion’ Munemo, one of our Ealing Trailfinders 1871 players who is currently in Africa on a church support trip.

Sean is teaching the locals to play rugby and our Men’s Section has donated rugby balls to help with the project.

Sean reports as follows:

We arrived in the remote village of the Masaai Red Tribe Community just over a week ago on the 5th June.

We were so blessed by Ealing Trailfinders who understood the vision l had to coach and introduce the game of rugby to the Masaai community – their donation of rugby balls have been very gratefully received by the people who are eager to learn our game.

As we began our first training session, I was quite nervous about how it would all turn out. Especially when some of the kids in the Masaai Academy called the rugby ball an “egg”. It was the first time in their lives that they had seen a rugby ball.

My vision for this academy was to introduce them to 7s rugby.  So, on day one we started off with simple passing drills – it wasn’t easy for the boys but they adjusted quickly and began to enjoy the game immediately. Soon they began playing touch rugby. It was fantastic and we completed the day with the boys understanding that we pass the ball backwards and we run forward.

On day 2, we continued with more passing and attacking drills, began to introduce the offside line and knock ons. We had a solid 2-hour session of training. The boys and especially the Head Master loved the game. He noted how “this game will teach the Maasai boys to think more and to be more disciplined’. Valuable words for us all.

We rounded off our last day in Kenya with a game of touch 7s. The boys surprised me – and their skills exceeded my expectations beyond comprehension! They played the game like pros, they loved the game of rugby and they were thankful to Ealing Trailfinders for donating those balls to help it all happen. We are now thinking of continuing supporting the new Masaai Rugby Academy.

We finished by awarding and recognizing all the children that participated. They were delighted and we hope and expect rugby to become part of their sporting lives. This is a great example of how Ealing Trailfinders can facilitate and support rugby wherever there are people to encourage to participate in the game we all enjoy so much.”

Ealing Trailfinders 1871 – our new Team for 2019

Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club is currently as successful as it has ever been since its formation in 1871.

Season 2019/20 brings us the formation of a new club with full RFU affiliation – we have called the club Ealing Trailfinders 1871 in recognition of our long heritage.

We want to offer rugby in Ealing at an appropriate level for all players and our new team will help to deliver this. We will be closely linked to the existing Ealing Trailfinders structure, sharing the same facilities but operating independently within the RFU regulations and competing independently within the RFU league structure.

In the era of professional and amateur rugby it is important that clubs provide all rugby players with a structure that suits their rugby ability and ambition. By having two affiliated clubs with strong links and co-operation we can achieve this and in turn this will continue to develop rugby in Ealing and the surrounding area.

The new structure will not only play RFU league rugby in the London & SE Division but also give players opportunities to play Zoo Shield, and Middlesex Merit Table rugby as well as social and veterans’ rugby through the Exiles and Evergreens squads. In this way we will ensure we can offer rugby for players at all levels.

Additionally, this gives us a stronger player development route for the very successful Ealing Trailfinders U18 and U23 Academy.

The Ealing Trailfinders professional structure is a separate entity, but our strong links will enable players of the highest level to transition across either through the new Brunel University Scholarship Programme or through the Championship side’s own Academy structure.

The successful Minis and Youth sections will also benefit while continuing to be at the heart of Ealing Trailfinders with a clear development structure leading to Senior, U23 Academy and the Brunel University affiliated programme.

This is a big step forward for our whole club and all of the Ealing Trailfinders community – by creating a new RFU affiliated team, Ealing Trailfinders 1871, we are allowing our players the opportunity of a complete rugby journey with a single, powerful and success-led entity,’ commented Steve Weekes, Chairman of the new club. “Whatever age you are, whatever your ability and however you wish to enjoy your rugby, Ealing Trailfinders now offers you the option to participate as you feel most comfortable. We want to attract new and former players to be involved right now – and if you want to play in a recognised competitive league with promotion and relegation and full RFU affiliation our new team provides exactly this. We’re looking forward to building a great new club, a great new part of the Trailfinders rugby family.”

Ealing Trailfinders 1871

The Club has decided to create a new club with RFU accreditation for the new season.  The new Club, playing as Ealing Trailfinders 1871, will be closely linked to the existing Ealing Trailfinders structure, share the same facilities but will operate independently within the RFU regulations and compete independently within the RFU league structure. See HERE for more details.

U20s Tournament Announcement

Ealing Trailfinders Academy regret to announce that they have taken the difficult decision to cancel the 2019 U20s 10s Tournament. We are very grateful to our sponsors who have all be so supportive for a 2nd year and to those who have given their time to plan the day. Unfortunately, over the last week we have had teams pull out thus making the day untenable. Once again huge thanks to our players, supporters, sponsors and opposition teams for the efforts they have made.