106 points scored at Vallis Way on Saturday, much better entertainment that what was on offer at Twickenham many may feel?
Despite scoring 11 tries in overcoming Canterbury, Ealing’s Director of Rugby Mike Cudmore will be disappointed that Canterbury crossed the Ealing line of six occasions. Ealing went into the game with the best defensive record in N2S – having had only 179 points scored against them.
Mike said ”In attack we produced a very good performance which reflects in the score line. We were not happy conceding the amount of tries we did and also some of our game management in the second half was not at the level we expect."
He continued, “It would have been easy to ignore this and focus on the win and the large score line but all the coaches and players at the club are honest and know we need to always look at the areas to work on so that we can strive for an all-round performance every game we play”.
The day started dull in West London, an early morning pitch inspection passed the Vallis Way surface fit to play, and come noon the sun came out and the surface looked in great condition.
Standoff Neil Hallett, deputising for Ben Ward, started the ball rolling with a neatly struck penalty after four minutes. It was then the league’s top try scorer Phil Chesters opening up just outside the visitors 22m line, rounding his win for his 19th try of the season. Hallett added the conversion and Ealing were 10-0 ahead after eight minutes.
Young centre Sam Wardingley was next on this try scoring list for the first of his hat trick of tries with a neat cross field kick from Neil Hallett as he ran the ball into the corner, as Ealing went into over drive, scoring two tries in three minutes.
Ealing U20 hooker Rob Buchanan then scored the try of the day! Receiving the ball on the half way line, he sidestepped, yes a sidestepping hooker, he sidestepped two would be defenders and then beat the city sides full back Carlton Littlechild for pace to score under the posts. With Hallets’s conversion, Ealing were 22-0 ahead after 14 minutes.
Canterbury’s own try scoring machine, flanker Peter Kelly got one back for the city side, he too was to go on to grab two further tries, from his traditional catch and drive. Fly half Tom Best’s conversion put the score back to 22-7 after 18 minutes. The rugby on offer certainly kept the crowd warm on a chilly afternoon.
Wardingley’s second try came on 24 minutes. A quick dart from scrum half Morgan Thompson set up a ruck midfield and quick hands saw Wardingley beat his centre and cross to the left of the posts. Hallett’s conversion sailed over the posts. Canterbury’s Matt Sheen added another score on 28 minutes, and Wardingley completed his first half hat trick on 39 minutes and Ealing went into the half time break 36-12 ahead with the four try bonus point in the bag.
Canterbury began the second half on the front foot. Flanker George Micans spotted a gap on the blind side and went over on 41 minutes to bring Canterbury back to 36-17.
Compared to the first half the second half was a scrappy stop start affair. Chesters went over for his second try of the day on 53 minutes, flanker Karl Gibson crossed after 58 minutes and with Hallett’s conversion Ealing were forging ahead at 48-17.
Mike Cudmore then introduced two new signings Ronald McLean-Dents for his first start of the year, replacing Phil Chesters, whilst Tyler Edwards came on for Ryan Gregory.
The final quarter of the game saw Ealing go in for four further tries as first Owen Bruynseels on 61 minutes, Blair Morris on his return to 1st XV action on 69 minutes, Neil Hallett on 75 minutes and finally Joe Price on 79 minutes completed the 11 try rout. Canterbury’s open side did claim two tries to complete his own hat Rick but in truth Ealing were never in trouble with far too much fire power for the City side.
Skipper Neil Hallett said afterwards, “Whilst it great to score 72 points, we will look hard at the reasons why we conceded six against. We set high standards so the guys were not happy afterwards. Each week presents a new challenge and now we have to look to this coming weekend and Dings, weather permitting! Despite their loss to Richmond, Landseer Avenue is a tough place to go to and get a result. They don’t drop too many points at home, so we will need to dig in for another battle."
Ealing are again on the road, when the travel to Bristol to face eighth placed Dings Crusaders. Never an easy place to travel to.
15 – Pete Hodgkinson 14 – Owen Bruynseels, 13 – Sam Wardingley, 12 – Joe Price, 11 – Phil Chesters, 10 – Neil Hallett (C) 9 – Morgan Thompson, 1- Rob Buchanan, 2 – Dinos Alexopoulous, 3 – Steve Neville, 4 – Ryan Gregory, 5 – Matt Evans, 6 – Blair Morris, 7 – Karl Gibson, 8 – Anders Nilsson
16 – Lewis Brown, 17 – Sonny Kuwango, 18 – Jay King, 19 – Ronald McLean-Dents, 20 – Tyler Edwards