In a keenly contested local derby on a cold, windy day, Ealing Amateurs completed their fourteenth straight win of the season and strengthened their grip on Middlesex Merit Table 1but were slightly flattered by the final margin of 15 points against a team who belied their lowly league position.
Playing with a stiff breeze in their faces, Ealing Amateurs found themselves pinned in their own half in the opening exchanges and conceded the first score, when Ruislip took a quick tap penalty following an illegal tackle. Despite clear superiority in the set scrum and lineout, Ealing were unable to breach the Ruislip defence until the half-time whistle approached. A Ruislip player was sin-binned for killing the ball, and from the ensuing tapped penalty Ealing finally crossed the line through flanker Mike Whitney, leaving the match delicately poised at 5-5 at the interval.
It was to be expected that with the elements in their favour in the second half the Amateurs would quickly open up a lead, but three minutes after the break it was instead Ruislip who scored. The converted try left Ealing facing the distinct possibility of tasting defeat for the first time this season, but the deficit was cut to two points four minutes later when captain and No 8 Adam Hulmston powered over from a scrum close to the Ruislip line. Just three minutes later the Amateurs moved into the lead for the first time when fly-half Andy Jack evaded several would-be tacklers to score under the posts.
Jack suffered a leg injury in the act of scoring and the conversion was kicked by his replacement Alex Gillespie. For much of the remainder of the game the hosts pounded the Ealing Amateurs line, and only resolute defence kept the score at 17-12.
With a nail-biting last ten minutes in prospect, Ealing finally managed to turn over opposition ball and push Ruislip deep into their own half with a clearance kick. As the Ruislip forwards began to tire, second-row Sean Kennett gained possession and exploited a gap to sprint clear and touch down wide out on the left.
Centre Alex Hazell added the Amateurs’ fifth and final try, leaving defenders, support runners and the referee trailing in his wake as he too streaked clear and dotted down close to the corner flag.
Ealing Amateurs will now focus on preparing for what promises to be a fascinating Middlesex Bowl match away to London Nigerian of London 2 North-West on Tuesday 22 January.
In the other match of the weekend Ealing Exiles defetated Kilburn Cosmos 2nds 46-17 at home in MMT5.