Ealing Trailfinders may not have come away from their trip to Bedford Blues with a first win in the Greene King IPA Championship under their belts, but for Andrew Henderson the performance was a noticeable improvement from previous road trips to Rotherham Titans and Leeds Carnegie.
The fullback was one of two try-scorers in the first half, which alongside the second from scrumhalf Morgan Thompson gave Ealing a 14-7 halftime lead. In the second half though the home side used the strong wind at their backs and greater knowledge of the notorious Goldington Road slope to fight back and win 31-14.
“It was great to see the boys put a performance in for the 80 minutes,” Henderson said. “We lapsed at certain points, but there is no taking away that Bedford are a great side.
“I think they’ve always been in the semifinal since this new Championship play-off started, so to take 14 points off them and look dangerous for large portions of the second half is good. However, we had to understand that if we lost the ball in their 22 we were going to be facing a line-out on our own 22 because the wind was a big factor today.”
The match was the first time that Ealing have been shown live on Sky Sports and as well as the match the broadcaster visited Vallis Way during the week to speak to Phil Chesters and interviewed Ben Ward, Owen Bruynseels and Director of Rugby Mike Cudmore on the day.
Next up for the club are two Friday night home matches, against Moseley and Plymouth Albion, where Henderson hopes the team can continue their growing momentum.
“We’ve come here today and wanted to put a performance in,” Henderson continued. “It was on TV, it’s a massive stage for the boys and I think everyone stepped up and proved they can do it.
“Now we have to take it on and make our home a fortress. Games like Moseley and Plymouth a week later are absolutely massive for the club; we must come out with something from them.”
Henderson’s try midway through the first half was his second in two matches and gave him the distinction of becoming the first Trailfinders player to score in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
The score was almost a carbon copy of his try against Cross Keys a week earlier. Fly-half Ward sent the ball right, centre Ronnie McLean punched a hole in the defence and offloaded to Henderson who had the relatively straight-forward task of running the try in.
“I have to put my hands up to admit that I haven’t had to do a lot for them,” he said. “They’ve come off the back of Ronnie’s good work, which has put me in for two easy ones. You take them as they come and hopefully I’ll keep taking them.”
Andrew Henderson scores against Cross Keys