Bedford Blues 19-19 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders maintained their unbeaten run in the British and Irish Cup by securing a draw against Bedford Blues at Goldington Road on Saturday.
Alun Walker scored a hat-trick and Aaron Penberthy added two conversions in a match that was played in heavy rain and which was the first time that Ealing Trailfinders have avoided defeat away to Bedford Blues.
The result means that Ben Ward's team remain top of Pool 5 after Yorkshire Carnegie failed to take all five points on offer from their match at home to the Dragons Premiership Select XV.
Ealing Trailfinders have now won twice and drawn once and top the pool with 11 points, one more than Carnegie, who they face in their final pool match on Sunday 22 January at Scarborough RFC.
The match started well for the visitors and they quickly grabbed a 14-point lead after the first of Walker’s tries.
His first came from the back of a driven lineout and his second arrived soon after when he finished off a series of drives from the pack close to the posts.
Penberthy kicked both conversions, but Bedford Blues began to find their rhythm as the half wore on and they opened their scoring when Elliott Clements-Hill powered over from a driven lineout.
Debutant Glen Townson was involving himself in the thick of the forward-oriented action and made a number of important interventions to stop the Bedford Blues’ forwards from building momentum.
Nonetheless Jake Sharp added two penalties to his conversion to mean that the hosts were only a point behind at half-time.
Walker completed his hat-trick early in the second half by rounding off another attacking foray from the Ealing Trailfinders’ forwards.
Myles Dorrian closed the deficit again with another penalty and then drew the home team level with his second soon after.
Both teams continued to push for the win and Will Harries made an important intervention to stop Tom James’ kick ahead, before Oli Dodge knocked on as the match drew to a close.
Next Saturday Bedford Blues make the return journey to Vallis Way for the fourth round of matches in the British and Irish Cup.
Tries (Clements-Hill), Conversions (Sharp) Penalties (Sharp x 2, Dorrian x 2)
Tries (Alun Walker x 3), Conversions (Penberthy x 2)
Matt Gallagher, George Perkins, Tom Farrell, Ollie Dodge, Elliot Clement-Hill Jake Sharp, Jordan Burns; Camilo Parilli-Ocampo, Dan George, Billy Walker, Will Carrick-Smith, Byron Hodge, Ed Taylor (captain), Ben Adams, Jason Hill
Charley Robinson, Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Chris Judge, Paul Tupai, Tom James, Myles Dorrian, Josh Buggea
Harries, Cordy-Redden, Jones, Peters, Chesters, Penberthy, Carter; Gibbons, Walker, Penny, Casson, Townson, Bradley, Nagle-Taylor, Ryan (captain)
Lawrence, Davis, Rodman, Preocanin, Jenkins, Davies, Ward
Referee – Adam Lille
Attendance – 1,707