Bright winter sunshine greeted Ealing Trailfinders as they took the short trip to Barnes Elms on the first 6 Nations weekend of the season. They came away with an 11 try victory that will do nothing to help their host’s fight for their National League 2 survival.
Away from Barnes Elms, Rosslyn Park remained in 2nd place with a 75-3 victory away at Westcombe Park, whilst Barking had to come back from behind to beat 14 man Lydney 35-16. The gap at the top of National 2 South is tight, with Ealing on 74 points, Park on 73 and Barking on 70. Ealing have a game in hand over Rosslyn Park.
Ealing number 8 Guthrie Hall reflected on the days game and said afterwards, "As a squad we have set ourselves high standards that we know we can achieve but our ambition is to improve on those standards each week. This mentality and work ethic is shown in our performance on the weekend. Although there is a lot of competition at the top of the table, our emphasis is on focusing on each game as it comes, enjoying what we do, and working hard on our game in training. It’s the same approach we started the season off with and I think it has been the key to what we have achieved so far in the season. We came here to win and get the league points on offer, anything else is a bonus. To grab a couple myself is always nice though!”
Ealing were on the scoreboard within four minutes after scrum half Paddy Gill changed the direction of play allowing centre Marcus Burcham to cross for the opening try, Ben Ward adding the first of his nine successful conversions of the day. Barnes were on the scoreboard three minutes later, when Ealing were caught off side. Warren Gower stepping up to convert the penalty.
Ealing Trailfinders then started to up the pace of the game, and blindside flanker Blair Morris crossed for two tries in as many minutes as Barnes felt the full force of Ealing’s attack. Ward converted both tries to leave the score 21-3 to the visitors after just 13 minutes on the clock. The try of the first period went to prop Dinos Alexopoulos, on 17 minutes, who appearing at inside centre throw a dummy to cross the line unopposed to claim the 4 try bonus point. Ward adding the 2 points. Joe Price crossed for the fifth try of the half on 30 minutes, leaving the half time score 35-3.
The second half began in the same vein, as number 8 Guthrie Hall powered over from a scrum under the posts for his first of the afternoon on 42 minutes. Ward again adding the conversion. Wing Richard Briggs got on the score sheet after a neat chip by Marcus Burcham saw Briggs win the foot race to touch down on 45 minutes. On 61 minutes Hall claimed his second of the day. On 67 minutes the hosts scored out wide after a good flowing move saw Nick Kurcham cross the line.
Ealing didn’t let up. Replacement centre Liam Lonergan, first crossed for his try, followed by Owen Bruynseels, before Lonergan, breaking from Ealing’s own 10 yard line, beat several defenders to find Dave Essien in support and he sent the flanker over for the final try on 80 minutes.
Ealing’s fly half Ben Ward added, "We were looking for an 80 minute performance and got one. The set piece was very good and this lay the foundation to put guys into space. The guys off the bench also made a good impact when they came on"
This weekend, Ealing travel to Cambridgeshire to face 8th placed Shelford RFC. Kick off is 2.30pm – http://www.shelfordrugby.co.uk/
15 – Simon Bundy 14 – Owen Bruyseneels 13 – Markus Burcham 12 – Joe Price 11 – Richard Briggs 10 – Ben Ward 9 – Paddy Gill 8 – Guthrie Hall 7 – Jay King (C) 6 – Blair Morris 5 – James Winterbottom 4 – Stuart Ware 3 – Dinos Alexopoulous 2 – Jon Moyce 1 – Steve Neville
16 – Sunny Kuwana 17 – Lewis Brown 18 – Dave Francis 19 – Dave Essien 20 – Liam Lonergan
Tries – Burcham (4 mins), Morris (11, 16) , Alexopoulous (19), Price (32) , Hall (43, 63) , Briggs (45), Lonergan (72), Bruynseels (74), Essien (80)
Cons – Ward (9)