After eight minutes of the pulsating National 2 South clash at The Athletic Ground on Saturday, Ealing Trailfinders wing Phil Chesters crossed the Richmond try line for his 40th try this season.
With it he created a new National League try scoring record held previously by Richard Newton of Penzance & Newlyn in 99/00, 38 tries and it also took him past the National League record (levels 1-4) held by Chris Ashton of Northampton & England in 07/08 (in 25 games) of 39 tries.
He has scored 40 tries so far this season at an average of 2.1 per game, an amazing statistic, that has seen the Ealing pace man score seven hatricks and seven tries in one game occasion against poor old Newbury (who took their first five point win last weekend against Canterbury).
Even more amazing is that he has missed three games due to injury. What is frightening is that there are still 11 games to go, so given his current average he could approach 60 tries in one season !
ETRFC -”So Phil, a quiet night Saturday after the Richmond game"?
Phil Chesters -”I think everyone deserved a drink or two after that game, if only to settle the nerves! The whole squad played with 100% passion and commitment and stepped up to the plate, and it is testament to everyone involved down at the club and what we want to achieve. We are very pleased to have come away with a victory.”
ETRFC -”The crowd was pretty vocal, did it surprise the guys the numbers of home fans that were at the Athletic Ground? Does it help you to have that degree of support away from Vallis Way"?
PC -”It was absolutely fantastic to see such a following for the guys. It really does make a difference to look up into the crowd and hear our fans out-singing the home fans, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every single supporter who made the effort to come down and watch us at the weekend – all the boys very much appreciate it!”
ETRFC -”You joined from Westcombe Park, how long did you play there for, and what attracted you to Ealing Trailfinders in the first place"?
PC -”I played at Westcombe for one season and it was a good learning curve for me playing at that level. I think one of the things that attracted me to Ealing Trailfinders was that a lot of friends from St. Mary’s University had made the transition across after or toward the end of their studies, and the ambition of everyone down at the club, wanting to try and take Ealing to the next level."
ETRFC -”What age did you start playing and what was your first position"?
PC -”I first started playing rugby when I was seven. My first position was outside centre before being moved back to fullback, and finally on the wing with Ealing.”
ETRFC -”I assume that yourself and Owen have a fair amount of stick from the squad, having scored 59 of the 128 tries between you this season, how do you cope”?
PC -”There is quite a lot of stick thrown in our direction of course, mainly from the heavies as they see us as the glory boys. They certainly know how to keep our feet on the ground and not get arrogant about the tries!!! But when it comes down to it we know that if each individual does their job on the field then we are going to do ok. I agree that I’m only as good as the players inside me and I’m lucky enough to play behind such a strong group of forwards, (no I didn’t get paid to say that!) and alongside one of the best backlines in the league.”
ETRFC -”What was the team’s view of the season when you all arrived back from pre-season training, given the good show the club has had in National 2 South since it arrived back in the National leagues in 2006?”?
PC -”The squad is going from strength to strength. The core of the squad has been together for a number of seasons now, a lot of the boys know each others game inside out, and even with the disappointment of just missing out on promotion last season, we actually did extremely well with such a young squad and surprised a few people in coming 3rd. At the end of the day many of the boys have another year’s experience under their belts at this level of rugby, which can only be a positive when it comes to the business end of the season.”
ETRFC -”I suppose it goes without saying that you’re enjoying the style of rugby that is being played by Ealing – It allows you to get your hands on the ball at every opportunity. Do the coaches encourage the wings to go looking for work rather than waiting for it to be delivered"?
PC -”It is one of things I love so much about playing down here at Ealing. We aren’t scared of having a go when other teams would maybe take the safer option. We back our skill level and our fitness to play an expansive and exciting style of rugby and take on anyone in the league. Getting my hands on the ball during these winter months is crucial, in order for me to keep warm more than anything else!"
ETRFC -”How are the squad looking towards the next block of games, many people are saying that Ealing are champions elect. How does that sit with the squad"?
PC -”I don’t think it would sit very well!!!! Obviously everyone is very pleased with the result against Richmond. However we all know there is no easy game in this league, and being top of the pile means each week the opposition steps up their own game to try cause an upset. We are very focussed on our goals and we know what is required from us week in week out. The coaching staff will be looking for us to get straight back down to business in training this week, and take another big performance into the weekend.”
ETRFC -”So that’s the try scoring record out of the way, what are your targets now"?
PC -”Just try to keep playing how I’v been playing and help push the club for promotion!"
Ealing Trailfinders Director of Rugby Mike Cudmore added his praise to the amazing record that Phil set, ”Phil is a player who is very coachable and always looking to improve. Our style of play does allow the wingers to get their hands on the ball a lot but they still have to convert their opportunities and to this end Phil has done extremely well. After the game on Saturday I congratulated him on breaking the record as it overshadowed by our win away at Richmond and will be looking forward to him adding quite a few more to the new record from now until the end of the season