Promotion to Zoo Shield Division 2 has meant a significant step up for Ealing’s senior amateur team, with fixtures against the second strings of several successful National 2 and 3 clubs, and the home fixture against Hertford 2nds proved to be another tough encounter, against a team unbeaten so far this season. A 34 point deficit at the end of the 80 minutes was not, however, an accurate reflection of the flow of the game, and the game showed glimpses of what can be achieved when the many new players have settled in and some early-season absentees return.
After an evenly contested opening period, Hertford attacked down the narrow side from a line out, the ball was quickly recycled and the blind-side flanker powered over for an unconverted try on 8 minutes. The visitors’ lead was cancelled out after 15 minutes, when Ealing’s forwards surged towards the line from a line-out catch and drive and drew a penalty close to the visitors’ line. Rather than take the 3 points on offer, captain John Worthington opted for a scrum, a decision that was vindicated when second-row Sean Kennett touched down after the Hertford scrum had been shunted backwards. Hertford re-took the lead with a penalty for a high tackle, which also resulted in Ealing playing a man short for the next 10 minutes, and stretched the lead against the run of play through a converted try by the scrum half.
A half-time score of 15-5 suggested that Ealing, dominant up front, might still win, and their cause was helped by a yellow card against Hertford for foul play soon after the resumption, but the visitors’ superior fitness eventually began to tell. From a quickly taken penalty following a period of sustained pressure, the ball was fed along the line for the left wing to finish under the posts, and the bonus point fourth try followed soon afterwards, this time on the right wing. Two further tries put on a gloss on the scoreline, but Ealing finished strongly in the last 10 minutes and probably should have been awarded a penalty try for a blatant offside to prevent a try being scored, for which only a penalty was awarded.
The Men’s 1sts take a break from league action this weekend, before Clifton 2nds make the long trip to Vallis Way on 17th October.