Tim Brockett may have experienced a mixed return to his home town and former club when Ealing Trailfinders took on Bristol Rugby on Sunday, but at least he and the team ended on high.
The Greene King IPA Championship leaders were quick to take the initiative and ran in four tries in the first half and then added eight in the second.
However in the second half fullback Andrew Henderson managed to find his way through for a brace of tries and after hooker Richard Townsend did his bit for the front row union by scoring with a pick and drive, Tom Parker’s late score ensured that the men from Vallis Way returned down the M4 with a bonus point for their efforts.
“Before the game we said let’s just go out there and play some rugby,” Brockett said. “It was a nice day and there was a big crowd there, so we said ‘let’s go for the four tries’ and if we’re still in it we can go for more.
“It made it made for a funny feeling at the end because we’d got the bonus point but then you look at the scoreboard and you realise you’re 60 points down and it is a bit of a strange feeling.”
Arguably the last of the 16 tries was the most significant as it allowed Ealing to close the gap at the bottom of the Championship to eight points with three fixtures remaining.
Jersey lost 35-8 at home to Moseley the previous day and they now face London Welsh away, London Scottish at home and Bedford away in their final three matches.
Ealing meanwhile face Nottingham at home, Plymouth away and finally Rotherham at Vallis Way to bring the season to a close.
“It was mentioned beforehand, but it was all about us getting something from the match,” Brockett added.
“We’re disappointed to lose by that margin, but the aim was to go there and get some points and every game from now on we need to take something if we are to stand a chance of surviving.”
The 24-year-old Brockett received one of the biggest cheers of the day when he came on at half-time, mainly from ex-teammates from his former club Dings Crusaders, who are based just outside Bristol and who were celebrating a win over Clifton in the city derby from the day before.
Growing up in Bristol he was a regular on the Memorial Stadium terraces and then featured for the club’s academy, so a return to the ground was a special occasion for a player who has been with Ealing since 2011.
“I had a lot of family and friends there,” he said. “I spent a year and a half there in the academy when I was 21 and played a bit of British and Irish Cup, so it was good to go back and see everyone.
They’ve got a good crowd down there and they always get a good turnout, so it is always good to play in front of a big crowd. It was special running out there.”