Ealing Trailfinders Academy v London Scottish Academy won 24-7
Saturday’s fixture came at the end of a productive pre season period for the Academy, facing our near neighbours London Scottish gave us a great opportunity to assess players new and old. A break in the recent poor weather also helped the ambition of both sides to play with the ball in hand.
The games first period was a tense and even affair, London Scottish had a very strong midfield unit and coped well with our attacking efforts there. Where we were in the ascendancy though was in the pack, repeated strong drives at scrum time brought a string of penalties allowing us to gain good field position to work an improved lineout performance, Will Day linked well with No8 Marcus Lowe and flanker Tyler Bush to provide good quality possession. Strong running from flanker Freddie Avis and his link play with scrum half Shay Hacohen was encouraging.
It was late in the first period before we were able to stretch the well organised Scottish defence to breaking point, winger Louie Walker going over on the right after a strong run, Yun Shun Luk added the conversion to make the score 7-0 at the 1st break.
Wholesale changes for the second period saw no drop in quality and back row duo Oscar Avis and Felix Leonard-Fox brought huge energy to our running game along with prop forward Tim Hitchcock making strong carries. While the quality of our line out dropped the scrum just got stronger with trialist Felipe Vosabalaku looking very strong in the unfamiliar tight head berth.
Brothers Josh and Lewis Steadman formed a productive 9/10 partnership (one of four pairs of siblings playing) and it was scrum half Josh, who has been training with the Trailfinders Pro Squad for the summer, who scored with a typically sparky tap and go penalty to extend the lead to 12-0. A great defence set on our own line showing strength, technique and determination finished off a good second spell.
Our dominance continued into the third period, the line out began to function again giving better possession for Steadman at 10 and better depth in the midfield caused many questions for the Scottish midfield and wider defenders. Dyneal Fessal, fresh from a midweek game with loan club Henley Hawks, coped well with the added pressure of playing at outside centre as opposed to his familiar wing slot.
The pressure caused by an long periods of good possession and field position took its toll and No8 Lowe powered over the line close to the sticks for a try converted by Lewis Steadman.
London Scottish took advantage of a sleepy restart receipt from us and their lively scrum half went over to make the score 19-7. Encouragingly though it was Ealing who finished the stronger side and centre Dan Higgins finished the scoring and capping a good day at 24-7.
All in all, a very good display with consistent performances despite the disruption of shortened periods, new faces, new positions and unfamiliar combinations. To continue from the good showing at the Harrow Tournament bodes well and we go into our preparations for our game against the Army U23 in good shape.
Ealing Trailfinders Academy
Adeleke, Avis F, Avis O, Batt, Bush, Chamnaoui, Day(c), Ellingham, Fessal, Hacohen, Higgins D, Higgins W, Hissey, Joyce, Hitchcock C, Hitchcock T, Leonard-Fox, Lowe, Luk, Martin, Nikolatos, Okpaloafe, Samms, Steadman J, Steadman L, Townshend, Vosabalaku, Wake, Walker,
Tries – Walker, Steadman J, Lowe, Higgins D
Cons – Luk, Steadman L