Ealing Trailfinders 1st XV maintained their position at the top of National 1 by comprehensively beating Macclesfield 34-13 at Vallis Way. The visitors have been notoriously plucky opponents in the past but a workman-like performance by Ealing Trailfinders ensured 2013 kicked off on the right note.
The opening quarter of the game was evenly contested as the visitors lived up to their reputation as a stubbornly difficult outfit to break down. Macclesfield took the lead when Sam Shires was penalised for an incorrect entry into the ruck enabling Thomas Eaton to convert the penalty. Shires made amends for his earlier indiscretion when he powered over from a 5m scrum to score Ealing Trailfinders first converted try of the game. Macclesfield struck back instantaneously as they were gifted a try by Ealing Trailfinders indecisiveness. A miss-placed pass from Morgan Thompson to Ben Ward on the Ealing Trailfinders try-line was gratefully gathered by Elliot Brierley. The centre was rewarded for his determined chase as his converted try sent the visitors into a 10-7 lead. Ealing Trailfinders reclaimed the lead when a disjointed scrum saw the ball coughed up to Thompson who swiftly recycled it to Andrew Henderson to score. Thomas Wheatcroft’s conversion increased the Ealing Trailfinders lead to 14-10. For a brief period, Ealing Trailfinders territorial dominance was being somewhat scuppered by their inability to maintain adequate possession. Their pressure eventually told when a move down the blindside provided the space for a sequence of sublime handling skills between Ronald Mclean-Dents and Sam Wardingley before Peter Hodgkinson collected and raced to score his side’s third converted try of the game. Macclesfield ground their way back into the game as Eaton’s second penalty reduced the deficit to 21-13 on the stroke of half time.
The opening stanza of the second half resembled the first half as Ealing Trailfinders territorial advantage seemed likely to earn the warranted dividends. The perfect opportunity arose when a lineout 5 metres from the Macclesfield line saw the Ealing Trailfinders pack impose their power. A shortened Ealing Trailfinders drive caught the visitors unaware as Richard Townsend burrowed over to score the bonus point try and extend the hosts lead to 26-13. Macclesfield refused to lie down as they attempted to fashion a response through a forward-oriented power game. Ealing’s determined defence thwarted any attempted advancements from the visitors as wave after wave of attack was met with ferocious collisions. It took 20 minutes before the next points were scored as Wheatcroft continued his impressive kicking form to convert a penalty and in the process increasing the gap between the two sides. Macclesfield seemed unperturbed by their situation in the game and continued their relentless search for further points. However, Ealing Trailfinders had the final say in the game when Shires crossed in the corner for his second try of the game after neat inter-linking play between forwards and backs confirming Ealing Trailfinders as deserved winners.
Ealing Trailfinders are on the road this Saturday to Newcastle where they will face Tynedale before returning to Vallis Way for their big London Derby clash with RIchmond on the 19th January. To find out more about this game click here