In a Friday fixture played under the Vallis Way floodlights, the Men’s 1sts put on a fine display of determination, power, speed of turnover and aggressive running to produce a second emphatic victory in the new Zoo Shield 2 season after their opening-day victory at Hertford. With a total of 14 tries, ten to Ealing and four to the visitors, there was plenty to entertain the crowd on a cool and blustery evening.
Sporting a new set of shirts for the occasion, Ealing started strongly and responded in kind to the physicality of their forward-dominated opponents, but it was incisive running in the back line that led to the first score of the game after just 2 minutes through wing James Booth. The Irish Wanderers came back strongly but found themselves two scores down after 9 minutes after a typical darting run by scrum half Josh Steadman, adding to his hat-trick at Hertford. Debutant fly-half Ciaran Poynter converted. With half an hour gone little further of note had occurred, before the torrent of tries that marked the rest of the game began. Booth doubled his tally with a strong run, Poynter adding the extras, before Irish finally opened their account in the right-hand corner and Ealing finished a half extended to 54 minutes by a succession of Irish injuries with a fine try by full back Tom Agu-Benson, weaving his way to the line. Poynter converted to make the half-time score 26-5.
With the advantage of the blustery wind but with a man in the sin bin, Irish were first to score in the second period following a run at the heart of the defence by one of their big second rows. The home side responded immediately with a penalty try after prop Kadeem Collins was illegally prevented from scoring. Two minutes later hooker Chris Joyce scored in the corner. A third forwards’ try from the visitors was followed by a try under the posts by wing Afzaal Mir, before Ben Bridgewood scored in the corner, with a fine conversion nailed by replacement fly-half Harry Vidler. A final flurry brought tries for centre Zack Godfrey and a second for Agu-Benson, interspersed by a bonus-point fourth try for Irish.
Coach’s man of the match for a powerful display in the loose was second row Devis Acellam.
The Men’s 1sts have another week off before a home game in the Zoo Shield against Old Albanian on 6 October.
Team: Kadeem Collins, Chris Joyce, Pat Nash (C), Nyall Wake, Devis Acellam, Alex Turton, Will Day, James Wilson, Josh Steadman, Ciaran Poynter, Afzaal Mir, Vinnie Berrington, Zack Godfrey, James Booth, Tom Agu-Benson. Replacements: Tim Hitchcock, Harry Robbins, Sean Kennett, Harrison Slater, Harry Vidler, Ben Bridgewood
Tries: Booth (2), Agu-Benson (2), Steadman, Joyce, Mir, Bridgewood, Godrey, penalty
Conversions: Poynter (5), Vidler (3)