Ealing Trailfinders 1st XV were ruthlessly efficient in their 34-17 demolition of local rivals Richmond on Saturday. The reverse fixture in late September saw Ealing Trailfinders stage a heroic fight back to draw 27-27 at the Athletic Ground, but Saturday’s performance had all who were present at Vallis Way purring with appreciation. Richmond began the game with a voracious intensity, but the Ealing Trailfinders defence nullified any attempted attacks. The Ealing Trailfinders scrum had been in impressive form in recent weeks and this continued as a dominant scrum in the visitors’ half led to a penalty which was duly converted by Thomas Wheatcroft. The home side extended their lead when second row Steve Pape brushed aside several defenders on his way to the try-line after an excellent line-out steal reclaimed possession for Ealing Trailfinders. Wheatcroft’s simple conversion made it 10-0 before Tom Platt’s penalty reduced the arrears temporarily. A Richmond turnover in Ealing Trailfinders half allowed Wheatcroft to dash into acres of space before swift handling to Phil Chesters who finished well in the corner. Ealing Trailfinders continued to exert pressure in the visitors’ half and when Wheatcroft charged down Henry Taylor’s kick, the ball fell into the hands of Tim Brockett, who in turn offloaded to Wheatcroft to race over and score. Wheatcroft’s conversion gave Ealing Trailfinders a well-deserved 22-3 lead at half-time.
Ealing Trailfinders 1st XV begin the second half with a steely determination to score the bonus point try and further extend their impressive lead. The Ealing Trailfinders scrum was once more a joy to behold as it enabled Tom Parker to dart down the blind untouched to score the hosts’ fourth try of the day. Wheatcroft’s conversion took the score to 29-3. Another imposing Ealing scrum allowed Owen Brunynseels to sprint into space before a delicate off-load enabled Parker to score his second try of the game. With the game all but gone at 34-3 with just 17 minutes of play remaining, Richmond salvaged some pride with a late flurry of enterprising attack. Firstly, a misplaced clearance kick allowed Richmond to attack Ealing Trailfinders exposed defensive line, leading to Tom Sergeant crashing over. In the final minutes of the game, the hard-working Anders Nilsson was yellow carded for pulling down the maul before Chris Davies’ try reduced the deficit to 34-17. A third London derby in as many weeks awaits the league leaders as they face an in-form Esher side away from home this Saturday.
The next big game at Vallis Way sees the club host England Counties v France Federale on Friday 22nd February. The game is a 19:00 KO and is set to be a great build up to the big game at Twickenham on the Saturday. Ealing Trailfinders will be in action at Vallis Way again on Saturday 2nd March when Wharfedale are the visitors.