Despite eventually losing by seven tries to one, the Men’s 1st XV showed commendable effort and attitude against a powerful, fit, well-drilled and skillful Richmond Saxons. They immediately came pressure from the kick-off, on a cold but bright day, but in a remarkable defensive performance held up the opposition on the try line no less than seven times in the first 15 minutes before breaking away and nearly scoring themselves. It was not until the 27th minute that the visitors finally turned pressure into points, when smooth passing along the back line led to an unconverted try wide on the right by the fly-half. In one of the few moments of the game when they mentally switched off, Ealing conceded a second try just 2 minutes later, scored by the full-back half-way out and converted. A half-time score of just 12-0 would have been a fair reflection of the excellent work rate of the whole Ealing team, but the visitors finished the first 40 minutes with a flurry, adding a converted try by the inside centre and a short-range effort by one of the forwards.
The home team enjoyed plentiful possession as the second half got under way, with inside centre Luca Townsend coming close to scoring but being held up on the line. Despite some excellent Ealing tackles, resulting in 20 minutes without a change in the score, Richmond eventually breached the defence with the No 3 forcing his way over from short range. With three-quarters of the game gone, Richmond once more capitalised on a rare error and scored through their No 7, and with 7 minutes left on the clock the replacement inside centre burst through a tackle to score under the posts. A score of 45-0 was scant reward for the home team’s valiant efforts, and it was they who managed the last score of the game, with Townshend twisting and turning his way past the last-ditch defence.
This Saturday, 23 January, the Men’s 1sts face another of the pace-setters in Zoo Shield Division 2 with a trip to Hertford.