REPORT: Rosslyn Park IIIs 3 – 24 Ealing Amateurs 1sts

Ealing Amateurs maintained their grip on Middlesex Merit Table 1 with a satisfying away win at second-placed Park. While a try count of four to none was perhaps harsh on the home side, the Amateurs’ clinical finishing and steely determination not to concede proved crucial.

The open landscape of Richmond Park is never an easy place to play, and Park dominated the early exchanges with a strong, biting wind behind their backs. A simple penalty after 7 minutes put Park 3-0 ahead, but by the mid-point of the first half Ealing were beginning to adapt to the conditions and for the rest of the half the home side posed little threat, although they were unfortunate when one of their players was tackled into a goalpost when a try looked certain and Ealing cleared from the ensuing scrum. After 27 minutes concerted Ealing pressure led to centre Andrew Tew breaking an attempted tackle and offloading to second-row Sean Kennett to score under the posts. A try by captain Adam Hulmston left Ealing well placed at 12-3 at the interval with the advantage of the elements to come.

Despite playing with the wind, the Amateurs were penned inside their own 22 for the first 15 minutes of the second half, failing to secure quality possession before attempting to clear. However, a crucial blow was struck when Tew wrestled the ball off a Park player deep in defence and fed Jonnny Murphy, whose long kick downfield put Ealing on the attack. The fielding Park player felt the full force of a tackle from replacement Terry Thompson. The loose ball was gathered and moved swiftly through several pairs of hands for hooker Liam McDonagh to score a fine try in the opposite corner.

A few minutes later Kennett looked to have scored a second try, but the referee was unsighted and awarded a five-metre scrum, from which Hulmston picked up and powered over, full-back Andrew Johnston adding his second conversion of the day. Ealing resisted late Park pressure to emerge comfortable winners and maintain their 100% record for the season.