As Ealing Trailfinders were comfortable winning this National 2 South encounter at Vallis Way, down the road in Richmond, league leaders at the start of the day Jersey, were on the wrong side of their first defeat of the season, against Richmond 25-14.
Next weekend Ealing Trailfinders travel to Jersey for a mouth watering top of the table clash.
Ealing’s impressive display was built on a solid defence and one that kept Combe at bay for the majority of the game. Head coach Kieran Power was aware that there will be things to work on ahead of the Jersey clash next weekend, he said after the game "whilst it was far from an 80 minute performance, we did create a solid base from our defence which at times was outstanding. From this we were able to play our own game from and the result was some great counter attacking play that bought us 7 tries ".
He added, "Looking to next weekend, Jersey have shown they are a quality side, to come into this league and have just one defeat from seven games doesn’t lie. We will have to go there, build on this performance and correct our mistakes. It wont be an easy trip, but then again that’s what we would expect".
Combe, starting the game with the elements behind them, opened the scoring on 6 minutes by a well taken penalty by stand off Luke Gilles. From there Ealing began to dominate the game. Allowing the visitors no time or space on the ball, the first try of the day went to tight head prop Rob Buchanan, who showing great pace sprinted over from the 22m line . Full back Neil Hallett added the conversion and Ealing were 7-3 ahead, with 8 minutes gone.
Ealing’s second try was scored by scrum half Ian Martin. This was the young scrum half’s first 1st XV league outing of the season after he returned to the Vallis Way club he left in 2005 to attend Sandhurst. After training at Sandhurst, he was commissioned to the Infantry, the Duke of Wellington’s regiment (3rd Yorkshire), and his time has been spent of tours abroad to Norway, Afghanistan and Cyprus. Ian has also represented the Army 1st XV and has now reached the rank of Captain.
Ian said "It is great to back and be a part of something as special as Ealing. It is a fantastic set up with great coaches and good players. It has also been great seeing some familiar faces and getting to play again with some of the boys who I have shared so much with in the past. I look forward to the rest of the season and hope to contribute and build on the successful start that we have had.”
Martin’s first try of the day and Ealing’s second, followed a passage of play which saw centre Joe Price burst through a gap in the Combe defence, the forwards producing quick ball. Martin, spotting a hole near the ruck, darted through side stepping the full back and over he went near the posts. Hallett added the conversion and Ealing’s lead was out to 14-3 after 17 minutes.
On thirty minutes centre Joe Price was in for the home sides third try of the day . He took the ball at at speed and outpaced the defence. Neil Hallett added his third conversion of the day, and Ealing after playing into the elements, went into half time 21-3 ahead.
The second half began were the first had ended, as Ealing’s dominance continued. On 52 minutes skipper Ben Ward, scrambled through the visitors defence after quick ball from a scrum under the posts. Hallett adding the conversion, Ealing were 28-3 ahead .
Ealing made changes as Gethin Davies and Steve Neville came on after 57 minutes. Scrum half Ian Martin added his second of the day ,after great work by the Ealing forwards who drove towards the Combe line, sucking in defenders, he went through the gap after linking with flanker Jay King, Martin was put over unopposed. Hallet missing the conversion from out wide.
The visiting Italian referee, Marius Mitea, began to lose patience with Combe. Conceding a string of penalties, he finally showed a yellow card to prop Ben McKinnell, and with that he had a rest of 10 minutes.
Combe then broke out but the superb Ealing covering defence swallowed them up, and from the resulting penalty on 62 minutes, Joe Price went over for his second of the day, and with the successful conversion by Hallett, Ealing’s lead was out to 40-3.
Young Sam Wardingley came on for the impressive Markus Burcham.
Going into the final quarter of the game, Westcombe Park got a try of their own as prop Dean Sole was bundled over for a deserved try, Luke Giles adding the conversion and bringing the lead down to 40-10 to Ealing on 67 minutes. Following this, Lewis Brown and Karl Gibson came on for Ealing, replacing Jon Moyce and Anders Nilsson.
On 80 minutes the game’s final try went to the Man of the match full back, Neil Hallett, converting his own try, and with it, the final score 47-10 reflecting the dominance of the home side’s performance.
Neil Hallett said after receiving his man of the match award from Vice President Andy Killeen , "It is great to get to this stage in the season undefeated. The squad are really beginning to gel, and we are playing some decent rugby. The thing is to be consistent and to keep it going. We are all looking forward to next week and Jersey. Without a doubt it will be test, but one we will front up to."
Skipper Ben Ward echoed Neil’s comments, "travelling to Jersey this weekend, in what is on paper a top of the table clash. The difficult thing about this league though is that there are no easy games. We will treat it like all our games, and go into the match looking to perform well. We know if we do this we have a good chance to get the result we want. Jersey have a very impressive home record over last few years and its a great challenge to go their and beat them."
Director of Rugby Mike Cudmore said "I am happy with the win and 5 points. We controlled the game well in the first half but in the second due to some errors we allowed them too much ball at times. Our physicality was of a high level and I was very pleased with the debutants performances on the day".
Next weekend, Ealing fly to Jersey for a 3pm kick off.
15 – Neil Hallett , 14 – Owen Bruynseels , 13 – Markus Burcham 12 – Joe Price , 11 – Pete Hodgkinson 10 – Ben Ward (c) 9 – Ian Martin 8 – Matt Evans 7 – Jay King 6 – Anders Nilsson 5 – James Winterbotton 4 – Jack Foshwick3 – Dinos Alexopoulos 2 – Jon Moyce 1 -Rob Buchanan
16 – Lewis Brown 17 – Steve Neville 18 – Gethin Davies 19 Karl Gibson 20 – Sam Wardingley