The Cougars, Ealing’s Amateur first team, matched the professional first team and moved to the top of Merit Table 1 for Christmas, albeit joint on points with two other sides so the hard work is by no means done. Ealing turned in arguably their best performance of the season against a very completive Black Baa Baa’s side who, short of few first team regulars and feeling the affects of the night before will pose a serious threat if the two teams meet again in the final.
Although Ealing scored 38 points and were honestly never in danger of losing the game they did concede two very soft tries something will need to be addressed quickly if the Merit Table Title is to be achieved at the end of the season.
The game itself was a very one sided affair with impressive debuts from John Knott in the centres and Darren Almeida at prop. It also saw the return to the side of former skipper James Playll for the first time this season and Eoghan O’Sullivan after injury, both of which added great go forward to the side that has maybe lacked a little bulk and old heads in recent weeks.
The game started with some fierce defence from the Cougars especially in the centres where Knott and Olly Bishop smashed wave after wave of Baa Baa’s pressure. Once the initial pressure had been repressed the Cougars settled into their usual rhythm of attacking from almost anywhere and turning over a lot of opposition ball. The Cougars opened the scoring with an easy pushover try touched down by Captain John Haigh from driving lineout ball, an area Ealing dominated all game. Further first half tries came from Bishop, Haigh again and Eizo Higashi allowing the Cougars to take very comfortable first half lead.
The second half was much of the same but to their credit the Baa Baa’s never gave up and were competitive and very physical to the end. They were rewarded for their efforts scoring their second try of the game as a result of phase after phase of pressure on the Cougars five meter line with the defence eventually crumbling, something that will need to be looked at in training over the coming weeks.
The Cougars however had too much on the day and the second half scoring came from Owen price outpacing the Baa Baas defence to score a great try and Andy Jack who popped up with his now almost customary try, once again embarrassing the covering defence as he jinked his way past them almost untouched to score under the posts.
One event during the second half stands out more than any other, Knott on debut was put clean through after some excellent phases of rugby from the Cougars backs and with it seeming harder not to score than score he decided to take contact over the try line trying to go in under the posts. Knott, who otherwise was almost faultless on the day, as indeed were a number of other Cougars players, was somehow held up by a Baa Baa’s defender. It’s fair to say a little abuse was given from the away side with very little come back from any Cougars players as all agreed it was fair in this instance!!!
Try scorers: Haigh 2, Bishop, Jack, Price, Higashi
Conversions: Wayde Kelly 4
Man of the Match: John Knott