Author Archives: Paul Clarke

Training at Berkelely Fields

Berkeley Fields in Greenford (now Tir Chonaill Gaels) was the home of Ealing Rugby Club from 1958 to 1999. During the recent lockdown the new ground at Vallis Way was shut so some of the Ealing Trailfinders 1871 players started impromptu training sessions there on Saturday mornings. This reminded me of our training sessions at the old ground so I posted one of our training regimes.

“In the “old” days we departed the club house, cross “Shit Creek” on the little footbridge, then raced across the field to the canal footbridge, over canal, along tow path to road bridge, up steep side of Horsenden Hill to the obelisk, there to celebrate Rocky-style. Then down hill via car park to Ballot Box (now renamed) to do repeat runs carrying another player up and down steep meadow next to pub until at least one player pukes. Finally took path just beyond pub back to clubhouse for copious beers. We had one of the fittest squads in the area and it took other clubs until November to be on a fitness par..”

Andy Lyddiatt down memory lane

I joined Ealing by the usual processes of serendipity when I moved to The Smoke in 1978 . They were celebrating their 110th year of existence (never owned a ground, and almost as old as a rugby club could be). They played at the council-owned  Berkeley Fields north of  Greenford – opposite the Glaxo Works – where I later had an unsuccessful job interview characterised by having a medical before the interview – so I don’t know which I failed – or both! The pitches were often termed the wettest in West London, and were visibly below the level of the Grand Union Canal which ran along one perimeter, It was bugger to get to  from either work in South Ken, or my sordid bed-sit in Chiswick Park. Tube to Sudbury Hill, then a 20 minute trek down the Greenford Road to the ground and club house which resembled a large pill-box – shuttered up against vandals for most of the week. It was the club mantra that home or away you stayed 2 or 3 hours after a game  in the clubhouse, so my journey home full of beer and a fish supper collected from The Trawler on the stumble back up Sunbury Hill was quite demanding, and I commonly fell asleep in the warmth of the tube carriage and missed my change from Piccadilly to District at Acton, having to retrace my journey from Earls Court or even further east. Halcyon days!

Return To Rugby

We are excited that we are looking to return to rugby training and our season will start on Sunday 6th September.

The Youth Section (U13 – U16s) will be training from 10am to noon, and the Minis Section (U7 – U12) will be from 12.15 to 2pm.

At this stage, we are delaying the return for the very young players (Rats & U6s) but we hope to get them back very soon.

If you are a returning player, you will have been contacted by your team manager already. If not  – please email our membership secretary Gavin Coutts (

For new players – you can either register your interest by emailing our membership secretary or the Minis Chair, for players up to U12 (, or Youth Chair, for players up to U16 (  Or please feel free to come down and meet your squad (with social distancing) while registering your interest.  Please make your way to the main clubhouse where you’ll be greeted on arrival.

PLEASE NOTE: ALL PLAYERS MUST PRE-BOOK with the Age group managers and COMPLETE THE COVID SYMPTOMS QUESTIONNAIRE before they arrive for the training session.

Steve Lee RIP

The Club was very saddened to hear that Ealing Trailfinders Vice President and Wanderers & Exiles player Steve Lee passed on Friday 21st August 2020. The Club extends its deepest condolences to Steve’s family.

Ealing Legend Simon Mitchell writes “Guys today I learnt from Carol and his his son Stuart that Steve died Friday night. It appears that Steve passed peacefully at home in bed asleep. As far as we know Steve had no underlying health issues. An autopsy will be held later this week at Stoke Mandeville, I have asked Stuart to keep me posted and I will of course pass on any further details. Feel free to pass this message on to others that knew Steve. Simon”

Any club members who wish to record a memorial message on the Club website Obituaries Section HERE may do so by emailing messages and photos to Men’s Section Chairman Paul Clarke via Please include your name with your message.


Saturday 18th July marked a day for Ealing Trailfinders 1871 players to say thanks to the NHS for their continued support and work throughout these unprecedented times! The 1871 players came to the club (whilst socially distancing) with the aim of running 188km, which is equivalent to a lap around the M25, within 12 hours and setting a target of £5,000 in sponsorship.

During the day 63 people joined to run the distance, aging from 16yrs to 60+ and they assisted in helping to exceed the 188km target by the early afternoon, but then continued with a new target of 250km. They managed to cover the whole distance in 10 hours, which is the equivalent of the distance between Trailfinders to Manchester, finally running 257km.

Over £6,000 was raised by the end of the day with 75% will go to the West London NHS Trust and the other 25% going to the club.

See more details and photo album here

Haseen Hashim RIP

The Club was very saddened to hear that Ealing Trailfinders Academy and, more recently, Ealing Trailfinders 1871 player, Haseen Hashim passed on Monday 29th June. The Club extends its deepest condolences to Haseens’s family.

On Sunday 5th July there will be a candle-lit vigil in High Wycombe. Everyone is invited to The Rye, High Wycombe HP11 1AD at 18.00hrs. (Please bring a candle and wear something red.)

Any club members who wish to record a memorial message on the Club website Obituaries Section HERE may do so by emailing messages and photos to Men’s Section Chairman Paul Clarke via Please include your name with your message.

Jack Snell Funeral

I received this news from Ian Smith earlier today.

Jack Snell‘s funeral is going to be held on the 6th of May at Breakspear crematorium.  The family have decided not to stream the service however they have set up a justgiving page in Jack’s memory with the proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s research UK as Jack had been suffering from this condition for the past 10 years. The family would appreciate it if Jack’s friends from the club remember him by making a donation to help others by research into this cruel disease. 

I’m sure that many people at the club who knew Jack would like to pay their respects and remember Jack as he was Stalwart of the club for many years. 

JustGiving link HERE.

Jack Snell RIP

I received this sad news from Ian Smith earleir today.

“I received a call this morning from Ashley Snell. 

Sadly Jack passed away at the weekend. He had been in a care home for some time and passed away peacefully in his sleep. 

I do not have any other details at the moment as the family are still coming to terms with Jack’s passing and are dealing with the paperwork which is quite difficult in the present situation.  Ashley asked me to let his friends at the club know about his passing.”

“Bully” Bull Memorial Game

On Saturday 28th March 2020 Actonians were due to play Ealing in the memorial game for the “Bully” Cup. An annual game played in memory of club legend Richard Bull who sadly passed away following a tragic accident in December 2016.

Due to Coronavirus and the cancellation of all Rugby, the game unfortunately didn’t go ahead but that didn’t prevent Richard’s friends and family from coming together “virtually” at 2.45pm to celebrate with a pass of a rugby ball and toast the man himself

Follow this LINK for video tributes to Bully.

Clive Benjamin RIP – Update

You might have heard already from Peter Benjamin that the family has decided to limit Clive’s funeral to close family only in order to protect those most at risk form the coronavirus,

Pete says we’ll have a big get together later in the year instead.