Award winners and Gibson sign on for coming season
Double award winners Arthur Ellis and Alex Walker and long-time servant Karl Gibson have all signed on for Ealing Trailfinders return to the Greene King IPA Championship.
Ellis joined director of coaching Ben Ward’s team in the summer of 2014 and made an immediate impression as open-side flanker. He was rewarded for his displays by winning the Players’ Player and the Coaches’ Player of the Year at the Ealing Trailfinders 1st XV Awards Evening.
The 24-year-old was the team and National 1 leading scorer with 29 tries from 28 matches, four behind Phil Chesters who led the way for club and league with 33.
Ellis hails from Ealing and attended St Benedict’s School and previously played for London Scottish, as well as Newport Gwent Dragons, the Ospreys, Newport and Bridgend while studying at Cardiff University.
“I have really enjoyed being back home, playing for my local club, ” he said. “The coaching set-up is strong, there is terrific support from the supporters and sponsors and crucially, we have a great group of boys who work hard and play for each other.
“Ealing Trailfinders is a club that I am proud to play for and I believe that they are ambitious for a lot more success and are headed in the right direction: I want to be part of the exciting journey ahead.”
Walker also won two awards at Awards Evening; Man of Steel for best defender and Supporter’s Player of the Year. Like Ellis he has impressed in his first season at Vallis Way and scored nine tries in 28 appearances at scrumhalf.
He previously played sevens for Wales, as well as for Newport Gwent Dragons, Newport and Cardiff Blues, meaning his experience will be crucial to the club establishing themselves in the Championship.
“I re-signed because the club has a great environment with such a tight knit group of players and coaches, ” Walker said. “Ealing Trailfinders has ambition and hopefully we can prove ourselves next year in the Championship.”
Gibson is one of the longest-serving players at the club and this year’s National 1 championship was the third time that he has won promotion with the club since he joined in 2006.
He previously played at flanker, but was converted to hooker ahead of Ealing Trailfinders’ debut in the Championship. However, a broken leg early in the season ruled him out for over a year, before he made his return in this season’s away trip to Wharfedale in September 2014.
The 27-year-old Gibson went on to make six appearances and score two tries as Ealing Trailfinders won promotion.
“I am happy to have re-signed for another year at Ealing Trailfinders, ” Gibson said. “It has been a fantastic journey since I joined the club back in 2006, and I'm looking forward to adding to that next year in the Championship.”
“I am delighted to have Arthur with us next season, ” director of coaching Ward said. “He fits into our game plan really well and gives a great link between the backs and forwards. His control at the back of our driving mauls has resulted in him scoring a lot of tries and I'm looking forward to seeing more of the same next year.
“Alex has had an outstanding season. On the pitch he has been fantastic and become better as the year went on. Off the field he is one of the most professional lads in the squad in the way he conducts himself and is well respected among his team mates. I am looking forward to seeing him really kick on next season.
“Karl has come on really well working closely with scrum coach and England hooker David Paice this season. It is a massive year for Karl and it is up to him to take the opportunity he has to cement himself in this team.”