REPORT: Henley Hawks 19 – 19 Ealing Trailfinders 1st XV 6th March

Ealing’s trip to Dry Leas did not go to the formbook.  The Hawks sitting 3rd from bottom of National 2 south extracted a display that many of the home fans thought was beyond them to deny the visitors the win they wanted to keep their promotion quest on track.

Indeed it was the Hawks fly half Will Fulton that provided the home fans with much to cheer about in this gritty man of the match performance, with two late penalties that earned the home side a deserved draw.

Ealing’s skipper Jay King reflected on his sides display, “there were too many basic errors that cost us today. We didn’t fire on all cylinders and Henley punished us. Dry Leas is never an easy place to come and get a result and that was the case today. We are still a very young side, and maybe we didn’t always take the right options today.”

Ealing Trailfinders started brightly when full back Pete Hodgkinson out paced the Hawks defence to send wing Phil Chesters over for his 23rd try of the season.  Fly half Ben Ward was wide of the mark with he conversion.

On 7 minutes Henley took advantage of numbers at the back of the lineout on the Ealing 22m line, and second row Dave Clements crashed over to equal the score. Fly half Fulton took the Hawks to a 7-5 lead with the conversion.

The game began a phase of the lead changing hands, on 10 minutes Fulton added the first of his four penalties, before Ealing hooker Jon Moyce helped the visitors regain the lead with a banb storming run, brushing aside several would be tacklers, to go in under the posts. Ward added the conversion and retook the lead 10-12 after 16 minutes of the first half.

The Hawks began to take advantage of the territory they had established after the Moyce try, but for all the territory only a solitary Will Fulton penalty on 39 minutes and Henley went into half time with a lead of 13-12.

Ealing started the second half showing some fine phases of lay and on 51 minutes a fine show and go saw Ben Ward trough the Hawks defence and over for a try under the posts. HE duly added the two points and with it the lead 13-19.

Ward did however miss two further penalties, which were to prove costly to the visitors as the Hawks fly half added his two last penalties of the game on the 62nd and 70th minute.

Director of Rugby Mike Cudmore said after the game "We were all disappointed in our performance.  We did not test them for any long periods and there were too many individual errors or poor decisions.  We all want the same thing and that is to be in the promotion window at the end of the season.  To do this we need to be consistent in our performances and put pressure on the teams above with our results until the end of the season”

Next weekend Ealing Trailfinders return to Vallis Way and with it the visit of the improving Worthing Raiders RFC. Kick off is 3pm.