Ealing completed this 13 try victory against Hinckley and with it took top spot in National 2 South as the previous leaders Southend, slipped to their second successive defeat in two weeks, against Clifton. Jersey completed a 20 try rout against Newbury. It remains tight at the top and will do so for the foreseeable future.
Ealing arrived at Leicester Road having been forced to make some changes due to injury, but Director of Rugby Mike Cudmore made other changes to give his squad some valuable game time. Captain Ben Ward missed his first in league game in six seasons with the club, his place going to Neil Hallett, who also captained the side for the day. Simon Bundy came in at full back, whilst Sam Wardingley filled in at centre. Karl Gibson got a deserved start on the flank.
Neil Hallett was impressed by the team’s attitude throughout the game. He said “League position doesn’t really play a part in how we approach a game. We knew that we had to build on last weekend’s performance and I believed the boys displayed a very professional attitude throughout the 80 minutes".
Ealing’s rout of 2nd from bottom Hinckley was led by the league’s top try scorer, Phil Chesters who bagged four tries to his name, and centre Sam Wardingley with a hat trick. Of the 13 tries, the backs claimed 11 of them.
Ealing were on the scoreboard with 11 minutes on the clock when Simon Bundy cutting a great line off centre Joe Price pass. Skipper Neil Hallett added the first of his 12 conversions on the day. Ealing’s play was of a high standard throughout, and their dominance at the set piece allowed their impressive back line to shine.
Phil Chesters crossed for his first on 17 minutes, followed by Joe Price who extended the lead on 19 minutes. Hinckley’s stand off Guy Swadling added his sides first points of the day when Ealing were penalised at the breakdown. Sam Wardingley went over for Ealing’s four try and with it the bonus point on 27 minutes. He added his second of the day just before half time, and with Neil Hallett converting four of the five tries scored, Ealing went into half time with a healthy 33-3 lead.
Hallett added, “Coming into half time with a good lead, it is always important to ensure that the concentration levels are kept for the second 40 minutes. I think we defiantly showed that we won’t rest on our laurels. Certain players had a chance to stake a claim for a regular starting spot and it was testament to the way they all gelled together. It’s encouraging to know that we have a good enough squad to be able to make certain changes and still perform at a very high level."
Ealing came out and the second half resumed as the first had finished. Wardingley added his third of the day, whist Chesters pushed Ealing’s lead out to 47-3 with Hallett’s conversion.
Mike Cudmore rang the changes as the evergreen pair of James Winterbottom and Dinos Alexopolous came on for Steve Neville and Jack Fishwick.
Four minutes later, Karl Gibson went over for a deserved try, after good mauling by the Ealing eight, Hallett converted and Ealing were 3-54 ahead. Jay King replaced the industrious Lee Starling after 54 minutes, and the try barrage continued.
Phil Chesters hat trick duly arrived on 56 minutes, whilst tries from Owen Bryunseels (2), Markus Burcham and Phil Chesters for his 4th of the day completed the thoroughly professional job by the new league leaders. Hinckley’s Tom Sanderson was bundled over for a consolation try, but the damage was inflicted much earlier.
Director of Rugby Mike Cudmore said after the game, "Our performance was very clinical on Saturday. Our physicality and tempo in both attack and defence was of a high level and I was very pleased with not only the score line but more importantly getting five points away from home”.
Ealing now look forward to the upcoming series of fixtures that will help shape their season. Next up at Vallis Way are Shelford on Saturday. Kick off is 3pm.
Looking ahead to the Shelford game, Skipper Neil Hallett is aware that the standards the team set for themselves must be maintained. “You always look forward to the forthcoming fixture. Once again we need to build on that performance. We intend to maintain our position in the league table and only five points will guarantee such an outcome. Shelford are no push over, they have some quality players and we will have to front up from the start".
15 – Simon Bundy, 14 – Owen Bryunseels, 13 – Sam Wardingley, 12 – Joe Price, 11 – Phil Chesters, 10 – Neil Hallett (C) 9 – Morgan Thompson, 1- Lewis Brown, 2 – Rob Buchanan, 3 – Steve Neville, 4 – Jack Fishwick, 5 – Ryan Gregory, 6 – Karl Gibson, 7 – Lee Starling, 8 – Mat Evans
16 – Dinos Alexopoulos, 17 – Sungo Kuwana, 18 – James Winterbottom, 19 – Jay King, 20 – Markus Burcham