Men

REPORT: Ealing Amateurs 1sts 24 – 7 Richmond Normans

In stark contrast to the previous game at Guildford, there was a hint of spring in the air as the Amateurs took on local rivals Richmond Normans with vital league points at stake. With several players away watching England against Ireland at Twickenham or sidelined with injuries, it was a much-changed side with several Amateurs 1st XV debutants that took the field.

Richmond started the game strongly, and Ealing took some time to settle, but the defence stood form and all Richmond attacks were repelled. Ealing then began to dominate and were only prevented from scoring following breaks by fly-half Eddie Beck, second-row Sean Kennett and wing Pascal Bapiste by the marginally late arrival of support. The deadlock was finally broken when the centre pairing of Des Crinion and Alex Kritikos, both normally flankers by trade, made sniping breaks around the fringes of the ruck, with Kritikos touching down for his first try for the Amateurs 1sts in just his second game. In red-time at the end of the first half Ealing extended their lead with Kennett driving over from short range.

Early in the second half when Kennett was on the score-sheet again, with wing Otto Castle adding the extras. Soon afterwards Kennett came close to scoring again but was held up over the line. Richmond rallied briefly, reducing the deficit with a long-range try by their Number 8, before the on-fire Kennett robbed an opponent in the tackle and galloped 50 metres for his hat-trick try, converted by Beck and securing a vital four-try bonus point.

The win over old rivals was made all the more satisfying by the strong performances of all the players called up to replace absent regulars. Debutant Spanish scrum-half Victor Zelaya merits special mention, for a strong performance after coming on for the last 30 minutes, as do the ageless Beck for lasting the full 80 minutes, prop Phil Cotter for a powerful game up front, Baptiste for strength in attack and defence in his second game back after injury and Stuart Miller for leading the defensive press around the ruck.