A devastating first half performance by Ealing including a 38 minute first half hat trick by Phil Chesters put this National 2 South game beyond visiting Taunton at Vallis Way on Saturday.
Was this one of the most complete performances of the season? Possibly. Taunton arrived at Vallis Way on the back of a four point defeat to Richmond from their previous outing, and were determined to avenge the defeat they suffered back in September, to Ealing on their home turf.
Ealing’s Owen Bruynseels said before the game , “We know that Taunton will be another tough physical encounter after the last game, and we are fully expecting another at the weekend, however after a good weeks training we are fully prepared for the game”.
Missing from their starting line up was their Fijian International flanker Apo Satala . The mood that the Ealing pack were in it would have taken another seven players of his stature to make a difference. Ealing’s eight men were so dominant over their West Country visitors, that his presence would have made no difference.
Ealing opened the scoring after two minutes when they moved the ball wide left, superb interplay between number 8 Anders Nilsson, scrum half Morgan Thompson and centre Pete Hodgkinson, finally putting Phil Chesters clear to touch down for his 26th try of the season. Neil Hallett added the extra two points. Chesters repeated the process on 11 minutes for his second of the day. Hallett converted and Ealing were flying.
Ealing’s pack was to the fore for the team’s next try. Going through the phases, they literally pulled their visitors from left to right. Following a a ruck close in, hooker Jon Moyce barrelled over for his first National 2 South try of the season. One for the piano shifters!
Pete Hodgkinson was the conductor for Chesters hat trick two minutes before the break . A neat outside break enabled him to put the Ealing speedster clear. Hallett failed with the conversion, but Ealing were 24-0 ahead and Taunton were looking down the barrel of a gun!
Scrum half Morgan Thompson was having a sublime game behind the dominant home pack, and on half time, he stretched the Vallis Way sides lead out to 29-0 , and with it the four try bonus point. Number 8 Anders Nilsson showed his pace, as he broke through the Taunton defence and off loaded to his scrum half, Hallett added the conversion and Ealing went into half time 31-0 ahead. Taunton left the field battered and bruised, looking for fresh ideas!
Coming in at half time Mike Cudmore and his coaching team would have pleased with the efforts on display , he said , "Our first half performance was of a very high level both in attack and defence,“ and he would have hoped to have continued in the same mode throughout the second half.
Ealing began the second half as they ended the first. The instrumental Pete Hodgkinson’s perfectly weighted kick, found Owen Bruynseels, who crossed the Taunton try line with 41 minutes on the clock – Hallett missed the resulting conversion. Ealing forging ahead at 36-0.
Chesters took his seasons tally to 29 tries, when following blind side flanker Lee Starlings run and off load he dotted down unchallenged as the Taunton defence looked increasingly porous. Hallett’s conversion took the score out to 43-0 as a rout looked increasingly on the cards.
Taunton’s fighting spirit came back to the West country side. With 49 minutes on the clock, Ealing were penalised. From the resulting penalty, they kicked for the corner. Winning the lineout scrum half Waylon Gasson found some space and burrowed over. Full back Gary Kingdom converted, but there was very little chance of a way back for Taunton.
The day’s last try went to replacement Ronnny McLean-Dents when he went over following a flowing move past a fragile Taunton defence. Halletts conversion took the score to 50-7.
Mike Cudmore added following his side’s impressive overall display. “In the second half there were things that we could have done better but the overall we were all happy with the final score line against a tough side". Indeed this was one Taunton’s heaviest defeats.
Skipper Ben Ward, looking ahead to the Newbury fixture, is aware that the team must take their form into this game and no underestimate their opposition . “Although Newbury’s results may not have gone their way this season we know they have some dangerous players that we will have to ensure we don’t give too much time on the ball. We have pride ourselves this season on not looking more than one week ahead and this week is no different. Our focus in training will be on what we have to do to get a result at Newbury .”
Next week Ealing travel to Berksire to face Newbury Blues – Kick off is 3pm , and details from the Blues can be found at their club website – http://newburyrfc.co.uk/
15 – Neil Hallett, 14 – Owen Bruynseels , 13 – Pete Hodgkinson, 12 – Joe Price, 11 – Phil Chesters, 10 – Ben Ward (c) , 9 – Morgan Thompson
8 – Anders Neilsson , 7 – Lee Starling, 6 – Karl Gibson, 5 – Matt Evans, 4 – Ryan Gregory , 3 – Steve Neville, 2 – Jon Moyce, 1 – Lewis Brown
16 – Dinos Alexopoulos, 17 – Sungo Kuwana, 18 – James Winterbottom, 19 – Blair Morris, 20 – Ronald McLean- Dents