Ealing Trailfinders 1st XV fought back from 15-0 down to beat Tynedale 25-22 in an enthralling clash on Saturday. Ealing Trailfinders will be ecstatic with the bonus-point victory on their long journey to the furthest destination of the season but an inconsistent opening first quarter made their victory harder than it need have been. It was a case of déjà vu, as Tynedale lived up to their reputation as a side who start brightly, as Ealing Trailfinders know all too well, having had to claw their way back from a hefty deficit in the opening stages of last season’s victory at Tynedale Park.
Ealing Trailfinders 1st XV’s slender advantage in a fractious opening segment was overturned by a superb solo try by Tynedale winger Andrew Moralee. The home side seemed to have run out of ideas as they recycled the ball just inside their half, before Moralee spotted a dog-leg in the defence and raced past several defenders to score the converted try. Oliver Stedman added a penalty to his successful conversion to push the home side into a 10-0 lead. Both sides looked comfortable in defending each other’s attack, Ealing Trailfinders opting for an attritional strategy whereas Tynedale’s less structured game-plan was reaping rewards. It was that spontaneity that led to Tynedale’s second try. Tynedale srum-half Harry Peck caught the Ealing Trailfinders side unawares when his quick tap-and-go had the visitors scrambling in defence. Peck broke through before passing to Moralee, who jogged in untouched for his second score of the game. With only four minutes of the half remaining, Ealing Trailfinders responded to their predicament in a ruthlessly proficient manner. An exquisite break and off-load down a narrow blind-side by Thomas Wheatcroft to Phil Chesters enabled the winger to race 60 metres to score in the left hand corner. Then, just seconds later, a wayward Tynedale lineout saw the ball recycled quickly to Chesters who coasted round his opposite winger before deftly chipping the full-back to gather and score. The 15-10 half-time score had some respectability to it and renewed the optimism of the playing squad and the loyal Ealing Trailfinders supporters who had made the long journey north.
Ealing Trailfinders began the second half positively as they strove to reduce the arrears. A misplaced clearance kick was gathered by Peter Hodgkinson who brushed aside several flailing tacklers, only for a dogged Tynedale defence to scupper an immediate try. The ensuing ruck ball was swiftly passed through the back division before former Tynedale No.8 Sam Shires off-loaded to Wheatcroft who dotted down. The centre was unable to add the conversion to his try as Ealing Trailfinders had fought their back to draw level with the hosts. Ealing Trailfinders were playing with a well-organized confidence as they bombarded the Tynedale defensive line. The Ealing Trailfinders forwards rumbled on through a succession of yard-gaining ball carriers before replacement flanker Leeroy Starling broke through to score. Wheatcroft’s conversion took the visitors into the lead for the first time in the game. Tynedale struck back once more as another Peck quick tap forced Ealing Trailfinders on the back foot, allowing flanker Sam Reynolds to score. Stedman’s conversion brought the scores level with a quarter of the game to play. Ealing Trailfinders quickly retook the lead when Wheatcroft converted a simple penalty. The Ealing Trailfinders bravely held on to secure a hard-fought victory and maintain their status at the top of the National 1 table.
This Saturday Ealing Trailfinders 1st XV return to Vallis Way to face London rivals Richmond in what is expected to be a classic derby fixture. To find out more click here