REPORT: Loughborough Students 5 – 41 Ealing Trailfinders 1st XV

Ealing Trailfinders 1st XV thrashed Loughborough Students 41-5 and in the process returned to the top of the National 1 table. The Students’ recent good form was severely halted by a clinical Ealing Trailfinders performance in atrocious weather conditions. Ealing Trailfinders settled into the game and adapted to the conditions in a more purposeful way than their opponents, storming into a 22-0 within 30 minutes of play. Thomas Wheatcroft opened the scoring with a well-struck penalty before Rory Damant was on the end of a Peter Hodgkinson grubber kick to dot down the visitor’s first try of the game. The Students na├»ve inability to control possession enabled the visiting Ealing Trailfinders side to impose their physical and ruthless mark on the game. A quick-tap by Sam Shires from a scrum infringement allowed Hodgkinson to expose the Students midfield and put the in-form Sam Wardingley into space for the winger to sprint in and score. With their forwards rumbling on and Hodgkinson’s tactical kicking constantly putting his side into the Students half, Ealing Trailfinders looked in complete control. After an incredible bout of inter-linking phase play between backs and forwards, Shires ran a great line to crash over and score. Wheatcroft’s conversion took Ealing Trailfinders into a 22-0 lead. On the stroke of half-time, the Students’ full-back Craig Holland capitalised on a rare misguided kick and indecisive defending to race 40 meters to score in the right hand corner.

As was to be expected, the opening exchanges of the second half saw an intrepid Students outfit attack resolutely in the aim to draw the score closer. However, the organised and determined Ealing Trailfinders defence stood firm against the home side’s persistence. The visitors scored their vital bonus point try thanks to the power of their dominant forward pack, with the influential Shires the beneficiary after a line-out drive surged over. Ealing Trailfinders continued to ruthlessly bombard the Students line with wave after wave of attack. Eventually the continued pressure told and Wheatcroft scored and converted his own try to take the visiting side into an unassailable 34-5 lead with just minutes remaining. As the Loughborough outfit began to tire, Ealing Trailfinders still had time for one last score. Hodgkinson’s perfectly weighted cross-field kick was caught on the run by Wardingley who raced to the line to score his second try of the game and confirm Ealing Trailfinders as resounding 41-5 victors.

Ealing Trailfinders have a week off to recuperate before getting back on the road where they visit Cinderford on the 8th December before returning to Vallis Way on the 15th. The game on the 15th is against Cambridge and will be the only home game in December so make sure you don’t miss out on the current League leaders. To find out more please click here