EALING GO TOP! Ealing Trailfinders 1st XV go to the top of National 2 South with a bonus-point win at Vallis Way, while Barking win, but fail to get a bonus point.
Ealing Trailfinders dipped below their usual high standards but began the New Year with yet another bonus-point victory at Vallis Way on Saturday.
Despite frequent handling errors, and facing a committed Richmond in the tight, Mike Cudmore’s side maintained their promotion push on a sunny winter’s afternoon.
Full-back Peter Hodgkinson put Ealing in front in the 17th minute, bursting through under the posts to give Ben Ward an easy conversion.
Peter Hodgkinson scores the first try
A quick tap by Richmond scrum-half Toby Henry led to wing Andy Saunders getting his side on the board and on the half-hour full-back Matt Hart put Ealing in the unfamiliar position of trailing on their own patch with a sweetly struck penalty.
The lead didn’t last long as Hodgkinson showed a touch of class, scything through the Richmond ranks to hand National League top try scorer Chesters his 17th touchdown of a prolific season.
Richmond started the stronger in the second half, Hart stroking over a penalty to bring the visitors to within a point, and the physical battle up front kept the sizeable crowd warm on a chilly day.
Midway through the second period a quick tap, and impressive continuity, led to Ward’s grubber finding the poaching Owen Bruynseels in the corner.
Owen Bruynseels scores
The wing made no mistake and Ealing had a six-point cushion at the start of the final quarter.
Ealing sealed victory, and the bonus point, when the ball was swiftly moved down the back-line for replacement Luke Wallace to exploit a gaping overlap.
Luke Wallace secures the bonus point
Ward slotted the conversion to make it 24-11 with just a handful of minutes to go.
Richmond never gave up and winger Jonathan Wehbe dived over in the corner, and with the last kick of the game Hart just failed to secure a losing bonus point for the visitors.