After a run of defeats in Zoo Shield 2, the Men’s 1sts started the New Year on a brighter note with a dominant second-half display to record a bonus-point victory. Just 5 minutes after the start wing James Booth scored under the posts, giving Harry Vidler an easy conversion, but the euphoria quickly turned to disappointment when Tring themselves scored under the posts courtesy of a mid-field interception. A quiet period of play then followed, with the visitors enjoying the lion’s share of territory and possession, although Ealing produced some promising counter-attacks, notably through the elusive running and offloading of full-back Calum Jones. With half an hour gone, Tring took the lead when their blind-side flanker managed to break free of attempted tackles and gave a well-timed scoring pass. Ealing hit back almost immediately. Hooker Albert Stoute took out a couple of defenders, from the recycled ball centre Vinnie Berrington made a strong break and Booth was on hand to score his second try of the afternoon out on the left wing, leaving the half-time score at 14-12 to the visitors after a sustained Ealing attack just before the break failed to produce a score.
The second period saw a complete transformation, with Ealing dominating from the re-start. In a couple of recent league matches Ealing had been out-muscled by older and more physical opponents, but on this occasion youth and greater fitness began to tell as the game wore on. Five minutes after the break, Luke Parry, replacing the injured Stoute, powered his way over the line for a deserved try, converted by Vidler. Tring reduced the deficit to 2 points with a penalty, but Ealing moved two scores ahead through second-row John Worthington. An injury to a Tring prop led to uncontested scrums, which could have worked to the disadvantage of an Ealing side increasingly enjoying dominance up front, but the onslaught on the Tring try line continued, with further tries by Berrington and Worthington again, after another strong run by Parry. Tring responded with their third try, and were in the ascendant for the last five minutes of the game in their search for a bonus-point fourth try. However, in the last move wing Ben Bridgewood intercepted and sped away to finish under the posts. Ealing man of the match was flanker Nyall Wake.
Tries: Booth (2), Parry, Worthington (2), Berrington, Bridgewood.
Conversions: Vidler (2), Slater (3)
Team: Tim Hitchcock, Albert Stoute, Pat Nash, John Worthington, Devis Acellam, John-Paul Hoban, Nyall Wake, James Wilson, Harrison Slater, Harry Vidler, James Booth, Afzaal Mir, Vinnie Berrington, Ben Bridgewood, Calum Jones.
Replacements: Luke Parry, Harry Robbins, Sean Kennett, Euan Jones, Ciaran Pynter, Yun Shun Luk