Ealing returned from Davy Field with the important five league points in the bag after this impressive win at Shelford.
Phil Chesters continued his amazing season with with four more to his name, which sees him take his total for the season to 51, with five league games of the regular season remaining.
Ealing Director of Rugby Mike Cudmore said after the game “I was very pleased with our performance. We were very clinical in attack and came away with an important away win".
Ealing know from previous experience that playing Shelford on the home turf would be no walk in the park despite the side’s differing league form. Last season Shelford dented Ealing’s title aspirations with a 19-15 defeat, and one that was fresh in Ealing’s mind when they arrived on Saturday.
Shelford started the game well, moving the ball wide and testing the Ealing defence, but a trait that was to be repeated throughout a long afternoon for the Cambridgeshire side, saw them spill the ball as Ealing showed why they have the best defensive record in the league.Throughout the afternoon, Shelford pounded away at the Ealing line, only to be stopped in their tracks.
Ealing opened the scoring on six minutes, when turning a Shelford attack over, the ball was moved wide to find Phil Chesters who, beating the defence for pace, crossed for his first of a four try haul. Neil Hallett converted the first of his seven successful conversions of the day. Shelford’s error count continued to rise and as a result Ealing’s dangerous counter attacking style was bought to the fore. Further tries were added by Owen Bruynseels on 10 minutes and Phil Chesters again on 26 minutes both converted by Neil Hallett and Ealing extended their lead to 21-0 .
Shelford came back strongly and tries by wing Jay Williams and prop Matt Gregerson pulled the home side back into the game after 35 minutes, Ealing’s lead was cut back to 12-21, Tom Dann managing one conversion. The respite was short lived, as Ealing moved the ball through several phases of play, the impressive Pete Hodgkinson, fresh from England Counties duty the previous week, found some space and he sent Owen Bruynseels over for his second and Ealing’s fourth of the day. They went into half time with a healthy 28-12 lead, as Hallett converted again on the stroke of half time.
Skipper Ben Ward commented on his team’s first half display, “We were pleased with certain aspects of our game at half time, we were very clinical with the ball especially from turnover and had the bonus point secure. However we were not happy with our defence and the two tries we conceeded which let them back in the game. ”
Ealing began the second period as they had the first, on 45 minutes Phil Chesters got his ninth hatrick of the season to extend Ealing’s half time lead. In truth the Ealing backs possessed to much guile for their hosts, Joe Price cashed in on some fine approach work by the Ealing forwards on 50 minutes, Hallett adding the extras to take Ealing out to 40-12.
Chesters was on hand once again for his forth and Ealing’s seventh of the day as Ealing began to run Shelford ragged. Six minutes later the hosts got one back through second row Glen Remnant. Ealing’s debutant prop Lee Evans shortly afterwards was on the wrong end of referee Mr Halford patience and he received a yellow card which marred a fine day for the young prop against a decent Shelford pack.
Replacement Blair Morris made amends for Evans’s misdemeanour, on 69 minutes and with Hallett’s conversion pushing Ealing past 50 points .Scrum half Morgan Thompson topped a fine display with a well taken try on 76 minutes and despite the late try from home scrum half Charlie Barker, Ealing maintained their two point lead at the top of National 2 South this comprehensive 59-22 victory at Davy Field.
Other results in National 2 South saw Jersey maintain the pressure on Ealing with a hard fought 44-28 win against Clifton, whilst 3rd placed Richmond saw off a spirited Worthing side 22-36.
Ealing return to Vallis Way this coming weekend, to face a Worthing side, always a tough fixture, and more so after the South coast side have been on the back of successive league defeats to Richmond (22-36) and Jersey (10-37).
Looking ahead to the forthcoming Worthing fixture, Mike added “Worthing are a good side and are very organised. We will be working hard this week in training and preparing well for them. I will be looking forward to seeing our team performance standards improve this week in front of our home crowd”.
15 – Neil Hallett, 14 – Owen Bruynseels, 13 – Pete Hodgkinson, 12 -, 11 Joe Price – Phil Chesters, 10 – Ben Ward (C), 9 – Morgan Thompson
8 – Anders Nilsson, 7 – Lee Starling, 6 – Karl Gibson, 5 – Matt Evans, 4 – Ben Griffiiths, 3 – Lee Evans, 2 – Jon Moyce, 1 – Rob Buchanan, 16 – Lewis Brown, 17 – Sungo Kuwana, 18 – Ryan Gregory, 19 – Blair Morris 20 – Ronald McLean-Dents Joe Price