Ealing Trailfinders welcomed National 1 side Henley Hawks to Vallis Way for a Friday night clash under the lights and were ruthless in a seven-try performance to win 42-0.
With just over a fortnight until the team make their Green King IPA Championship debut the side were out to add a fourth victory in four pre-season fixtures and did so in emphatic style.
After a nervy opening few minutes from both teams, Ealing Trailfinders took an iron grip on the match and held it to the end of a first 40 minutes in which three forwards and three backs ran in a try apiece.
The second half was more disjointed, but after Henley raised their performance it was Ealing Trailfinders’ defence that came to the fore and after repelling a number of Henley attacks it was the home team who scored the only points of the second period.
“It was fun in the first half and we played pretty well,” fly-half Will Magie said. “In the games I’ve been involved in that was our best performance in the first half. In the second half we got to test out our ‘D’ a bit and Henley came at us pretty hard.”
Hooker Sam Wilkes was the first to cross the whitewash from a maul and with Magie converting and adding a penalty Ealing Trailfinders were soon 10-0 ahead.
After a scintillating break from deep, fullback Andrew Henderson released Sam Randell on the left-wing and after he had carried the ball deeper into the Henley half, he popped the ball back inside for the supporting Henderson to run in unopposed.
Shortly before the half-hour mark the forwards were back in the action with tries from prop Jordan Saunders and No.8 Sam Hocking, before wing Sam Wardingley and centre Tom Wheatcroft rounded off the half with tries after attacks from deep had punched holes in the Henley defence.
In the second half the emphasis switched to defence and despite Henley throwing everything at Trailfinders’ line for 15 minutes, the defence held its shape and didn’t let anything through.
“We had to keep our composure and not give away any penalties,” Magie said. “We just kept on going forward.”
Eventually Ealing Trailfinders swiftly turned defence into attack and flanker Alex Bradley raced away to score the first points of the second period.
Ealing Trailfinders now take on Old Albanian on Saturday 31 August aiming to wrap up their fifth and final pre-season match before the Championship season begins on Saturday 14 September against London Scottish at Allianz Park.
“We’ve got one more tomorrow so it will be good to see the lads get out there and get that fifth win,” Magie said. “We want to keep building to that first game. Everyone is pushing for those starting places in the squad of 23 so there is a good feeling in the camp right now.”