Ealing Trailfinders lost for only the third time this season as Fylde produced an impressive performance to run out 22-15 winners at the Woodlands. ETRC’s supreme run of form came to an end as they suffered their first defeat in 12 games, the last loss dating back to when Blaydon, who make the journey to Vallis Way this weekend, came out on top last November.
Ealing Trailfinders will ponder how they were unable to cross the whitewash in the opening stages as they dominated the territorial and possession statistics. With the Ealing Trailfinders scrum in total control, forcing numerous penalties that led to the sin-binning of scrum-half Martin Wallwork, indecision allowed Fylde to reclaim possession. The hosts showed a ruthlessness that had eluded Ealing Trailfinders earlier and took a surprise lead when Gareth Rawlings crossed from a driving maul in the 17th minute. Fylde extended their lead just minutes later when Stephen Briers burst through Ealing Trailfinders midfield defence after a sequence of sublime handling skills from the Fylde backline. Chris Johnson’s conversion took Fylde into a commanding 12-0 lead with a quarter of the game played.
Ealing Trailfinders struck back immediately when fly-half Ben Ward intercepted a risky pass deep in Fylde territory to race in and score under the posts. Ward converted his own try before Ealing Trailfinders seized the initiative to draw the scores level. A brilliant 40-metre outside break from Andrew Henderson took the league leaders within striking distance before the full-back’s deft grubber kick, as the cover defence rushed across, was superbly picked up by speedster Phil Chesters to score. Ward’s missed conversion meant the score remained 12-12 going into half-time. After the interval, Ealing Trailfinders continued pressure paid off as they took the lead for the first time in the game thanks to a Ward penalty. As was the nature of this see-saw encounter, a Johnson penalty once gain levelled the score as both sides attempted to gain the upper hand in this absorbing battle. A loose pass in Ealing Trailfinders midfield was gratefully picked up by centre Michael Waywell, whose jinking run gathered momentum for the hosts before the ball was recycled to Oliver Brennand, who scored a converted try. Despite 20 minutes of the game remaining, Ealing Trailfinders were unable to trouble the scorers again. Wave after wave of Ealing Trailfinders attack was met with resolute defence as handling errors and repeated infringements penalised by referee Dean Richards stifled the league leaders’ hopes of staging a heroic comeback.
Ealing Trailfinders 1st XV return home to Vallis Way this Saturday where they are set to host second placed Blaydon. The game this weekend is a must-see top of the table clash. To find out more please click here.