Ealing Trailfinders were made to fight all the way for this league win, by a determined Barnes outfit who arrived at Vallis Way knowing that a good win was the only way they would maintain their National League 2 status.
Speaking after the game, Ealing second row Gethin Davies said "Credit must go to Barnes who played some good rugby throughout the game. However, our plan was to play with intensity both in defence and attack. I feel that we did this well at times and dominated for large periods of the game. It was a great day for running rugby and I think we’ll all agree rugby was the real winner with 90 points being scored overall. Hopefully Rosslyn Park will drop a point now over the last few games. Individual praise must go to Joe Price for his new look haircut and man of the match performance. Also to my fellow ginge Hodge who has deserved player of the season. Thanks GREEN ARMY."
Ealing started the game, sponsored by MSL Limited, at a canter. Playing up the infamous Vallis Way slope Ealing kicked off and Barnes didn’t take the kick off, and the ball bounced back into Ealing’s hands. Morgan Thompson span the ball wide, and after less than 30 seconds on the clock, Barnes’ Chairman Mike Whitefield had a look of foreboding on his face as prop Sungo Kuwana, showed a turn of pace Phil Chester’s would have been proud off as he crashed through the Barnes defence to open the scoring . Thompson added the conversion.
Further tries were added on 3 minutes by wing Phil Chester’s and centre Joe Price to take Ealing to a 17-0 lead with only 5 minutes on the clock. Whilst the home supporters were thinking of a cricket score, Barnes had other ideas. They played some sensible route one rugby and following a driving maul, Ealing were adjust to have infringed, leading to referee Terry Hall to award the visitors a penalty try to take the score to 17-7 with 14 minutes gone.
Barnes full back Warren Gower added to penalty on 27 minutes, after Ealing’s Kuwana was adjudged to have come in at the side and the crowd seem shocked to see him being dispatched to the sin bin for 10 minutes rest!
Phil Chesters was again on the score sheet for his 30th try of the season, following some neat interplay from Ben Ward & Marcus Burcham, put the Ealing flyer clear, he invaded two tackles with a wonderful swerve . Morgan Thompson added the conversion from out wide on the left hand side. Chesters added his second try on 32 minutes after some great spoiling work at the base of the scrum saw the ball come out and Morgan Thompson was the quickest to respond, moving the ball out to the backs. Chesters beat three men to go over unopposed.
Barnes prop responded just before the break, Gower converting to take the score at half time to 34-19. Despite the fact that the home side had scored 5 tries before the break, many felt that Barnes would continue to create problems for Ealing if they could retain possession.
A quick try for Barnes, following the break, by their useful looking fly half Gareth Williams Davies converted by Gower, bought the score to to 34-29, Barnes were very much in the game as the Barnes’ chairman looked exceedingly smug in the sponsors box!
Ealing continued to move the Barnes pack around, trying to unlock a determined defence. Owen Bruynseels crossed the line, very much route one on 56 minutes, after a trade mark cross kick from fly half Ben Ward. Ealing were now looking to wrack up more tries, and they crossed for 4 tries in a 10 minute period , with the ever dangerous Pete Hodgkinson splitting the Barnes defence , before Markus Burcham, deservedly scored after a great game for the young centre. The industrious number 8 Guthrie Hall was the recipient of great work by Dave Essien, and he crossed for two tries on 75 and 79 minutes.
Ealing’s full back Pete Hodgkinson said, "Going up by 17 points so early may have led to complacency but I believe that Barnes, fighting for National League survival, dug in deep and played well. We did help them out however, giving away needless penalties and sometimes pushing extra passes when holding on and retaining possession may have been the better option. Never the less we produced some nice flowing moves and some good team tries, crucially securing the bonus point win and thus maintaining pressure on Rosslyn Park. It’s nice to have the good weather back and to get some flowing rugby going once more! "
Following the game, Ealing centre, Joe Price was voted as the man of the match, and was presented with his award after the game by MSL’s Ms Cathy Bedford.
Ealing’s position remains unchanged following Rosslyn Park’s home win against Westcome Park. To have a chance of getting the all important 2nd place they must rely on Rosslyn Park dropping a point whilst winning their games with the maximum points available. Barking were crowned National 2 South Champions on Saturday, following their 96-15 demolition of Ealing Trailifnders next opponents Lydney.
Ealing’s Director or Rugby Mike Cudmore said "I was very pleased with our start. We then drifted away from what we are good at and this had an impact on our ability to put them under sustained pressure which we had applied early on and brought results. As the game progressed we created more opportunities and this improved the final score line"
For further photos from the game, please see the club’s gallery : http://www.ealingrugby.com/index.php?option=com_simgallery&Itemid=188&func=viewalbum&aid=103
Thanks to Fenton Willis.
15 – Pete Hodgkinson 14 – Owen Bruynseels 13- Markus Burcham 12 – Joe Price 11 – Phil Chesters 10 – Ben Ward 9 – Morgan Thompson 1- Sungo Kuwana 2 – Jon Moyce 3 – Dinos Alexpoulous 4 – Ryan Gregory 5 – Gethin Davies 6 – Blair Morris 7- Jay King (C) 8 – Guthrie Hall
Subs – 16 – Lewis Brown 17 – Steve Neville 18 – James Winterbottom 19 – Richard Briggs 20 – Dave Essien
Ealing scorers :
Tries – Kuwana, Chesters 2, Price, Bruynseels, Hodgkinson , Burcham, Thompson, Hall 2
Conversions – Thompson 6