One of just three league defeats in the Zoo Shield last season was avenged as the Ealing Trailfinders Men’s 1sts earned a second successive bonus-point win, outscoring a competitive and dogged London Cornish side by five tries to two.
Despite some early promise, Ealing were unable to break down a determined defence and found themselves facing the prospect of a repeat of a loss last October when the ball was spilt in the tackle and the Cornish backs seized on the loose ball to open the scoring with an unconverted try after 16 minutes. However, the visitors responded almost immediately as an ill-judged attempted clearance kick was charged down and inside centre Alex Hazell scored. Just before the half-hour mark Ealing moved into a lead they were never to relinquish when Hazell, in impressive early-season form, jinked and skipped clear of the defence for a try converted by full-back Steve Verma. Within five minutes the lead was cut to just two points when a couple of missed tackles and a well-timed pass allowed the Cornish right wing to sprint clear and score in the corner.
Despite some positional changes enforced by an injury to prop Patrizio Bancher, Ealing finished the first half strongly and moved seven points clear with a try from scrum-half Olly Miller, who spotted a gap and dotted down unopposed.
A second try by Olly Miller three minutes into the second half moved the visitors two scores clear and secured the four-try bonus point. Strong work by the forwards, with second-row John Worthington stealing opposition lineout ball on a number of occasions, kept the Cornishmen on the back foot. With 10 minutes to go a promising attack was halted by a knock-on but the Cornish backs were judged to be offside. The penalty that would have established a psychologically important thee-score lead was missed, but with five minutes to go and Ealing camped on the Cornish line a gap finally appeared in the defence and hooker Liam McDonagh notched up his third try in as many games for the Men’s 1sts. Hazell, deputising as place-kicker for the injured Verma, slotted over the conversion.
The Men’s 1sts now have a week off from league fixtures, with a friendly away to Amersham and Chiltern on 4 October, before returning to league action away to Rosslyn Park on 11 October.