A night of high drama at Ruislip ended with Ealing Men’s XV edging a hard, physical battle and lifting the North-West Middlesex Floodlit Cup courtesy of two tries by Steve Verma and two conversions and two penalties by Chico U’Chong.
(See match photos HERE.)
Ealing were quickly into their stride, playing with the advantage of the breeze in the first half, and were rewarded with a straightforward penalty by scrum-half U’Chong after just three minutes, following an arcing run by right wing Anthony Jeremiah. Ruislip responded strongly, but the visitors relieved the pressure by stealing a line-out. With 15 minutes gone the home side piled on yet more pressure with a line-out catch and drive, leading to two penalties, but the Ealing defence held firm. With a quarter of the game gone Ruislip finally did take the lead after a powerful run down the left by the inside centre, who was finally stopped by Ealing centre Alex Hazell in his last game before moving away, but quick recycling led to a converted try. In a game that swung back and forth it was Ealing’s turn to dominate. Another powerful angled run by Jeremiah was stopped at the cost of a penalty, but the visitors spurned the chance of three points and lost possession with a knock-on close to the try line. Soon afterwards the increasingly dominant Ealing set scrum drove over from five metres with the ball perfectly controlled at the feet of captain Adam Hulmston at No 8. Although he touched down, for reasons not immediately apparent the referee did not award a try, leaving the visitors four points adrift at the break, With Ruislip due to enjoy the advantage of the elements in the second half they looked favourites to win.
Deep into time added on and with Ealing re-asserting their authority on their return to full strength, Verma put a gloss on the score with his second try, from a Jeremiah pass. Another fine kick by U’Chong meant that Ruislip would have to score twice in the short time remaining and soon afterwards the final whistle sounded to end an enthralling encounter between these historic rivals.