An impressive unbeaten league record stretching back to the end of November last year finally came to a halt with an unexpected defeat at Reigate against a team who started the day at the bottom of Zoo Shield Division 3. While a strong breeze in the home side’s favour in the first half was certainly a factor, the win for Reigatian was well deserved thanks a dominant performance by their forwards and emphatic finishing by their speedy back line.
Ealing looked threatening in the early stages and came close to scoring when Olly Miller, at fly-half and captaining the side in the absence of Adam Hulmston, put slightly too much weight on a grubber kick. With just five minutes gone Reigatian made good use of the wind to launch an attack, and a couple of missed tackles and slick passing along the line enabled the right wing to score in the corner. The trick was repeated just three minutes later with another try on the wing, this time converted to stretch the lead to an ominous 12 points. Just before the quarter mark Ealing gained reward for a better spell when Chris Joyce went on one of several barnstorming runs and passed inside for inside centre Alex Hazell to add to his impressive tally of tries for the season.
As the first half wore on Ealing, fielding a much-changed team due to non-availabilities and injuries, were finding it difficult to secure good-quality possession from the set pieces, and following a powerful rolling maul Reigatian spun the ball out to the backs for the left wing to finish out wide. With a fine conversion the gap was stretched to 14, which might have been bridgeable with the advantage of the elements in the second half. However, the home side crucially scored again just before the half-time whistle through one of their forwards up in support.
The wind eased a little in the second half, and every kick downfield seemed to be returned with interest by a confident Reigatian side. A second half repeatedly punctuated by injuries and other stoppages produced little rugby of note, and the Surrey side comfortably saw out the remaining time with neither side scoring.
The Men’s 1sts will be aiming to return to form with their first home game of the season after no fewer than six consecutive away fixtures, taking centre stage on the 3G pitch at Vallis Way against Chinnor, one of the form teams in the competitive Zoo Shield 3.