Bedford Blues 33-24 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders found themselves on the end of a second-half Bedford Blues comeback to leave Goldington Road without a point having enjoyed the best of the first half.
Ben Ward’s side led 24-7 at half-time, but Mike Rayer’s team showed why they are among the play-off hopefuls by opening up after the break to run in four tries to leave with the spoils.
It means Ealing Trailfinders remain two points above Moseley in the bottom two places of the Greene King IPA Championship.
The Blues took the early initiative when they ran in the first try after two minutes. Centre Tom Griffiths broke the Ealing Trailfinders line and off-loaded to fullback Piers O’Conor for a simple run-in, that fly-half Myles Dorrian converted.
Adam Preocanin claimed the restart and it allowed Ealing Trailfinders some time to build some pressure on the Bedford line and eventually Ben Ward knocked over a conversion for Ealing Trailfinders’ first points of the day.
The pack continued to flex their muscles and after they won a penalty from a scrum, Preocanin caught the line-out and Arthur Ellis was driven over for a try that Ward converted.
Again Ealing Trailfinders took control from the restart and swept forward into Bedford territory. Luke Daniels had a dart, as did Danny Barnes, before Ward and Toby Howley-Berridge combined to set Rhys Crane up for his seventh try in four matches.
The third followed soon after when Daniels sliced through the Bedford defence with his pace, ignored an overlap and cut inside to outpace Bedford wing Pat Tapley to reach the line.
Ellis continued to make a nuisance of himself around the field and ensured a string of penalties and turnover ball from excellent work at the breakdown. Meanwhile Preocanin and Carwyn Jones were bossing the line-out and going through a truckload of work in the loose.
Nonetheless the hosts began to claw their way back into the match but after securing lineout possession close to the Ealing Trailfinders line Josh Buggea mistimed his run and Phil Chesters was able to secure the ball for Ward to clear to touch.
Bedford came out strongly in the second half and after another Griffiths break set up camp in the visitor’s 22, but again the Ealing Trailfinders pack reclaimed the ball against the head at a scrum and Daniels relieved the initial pressure.
Jonny Bentley hit the post with a penalty, but it was the hosts who grabbed the first points of the second period when number eight Joel Conlon rounded off a sweeping move to gallop home for the Blues second try.
Bedford continued to try to play with pace and verve and again Ealing Trailfinders’ defence had to stay strong to defend a driving maul, with Iain Grieve using his power to the fore.
Eventually Bedford’s power paid off when former Ealing Trailfinders player Camillo Parilli-Ocampo drove over from close range, which along with Jake Sharp’s conversion closed the gap to three points.
The try filled the hosts with confidence and from another Griffiths break Dean Adamson was able to run in Bedford’s fourth try to regain the lead and at the very end veteran lock Paul Tupai was driven over.
Tries (O’Connor 2, Conlon 52, Parilli-Ocampo 67, Adamson 75, Tupai 79), Conversions (Dorrian 2, 52, Sharp 68, Tupai)
Tries (Ellis 15, Crane 21, Daniels 26), Conversions (Ward 16, 22, 26 ), Penalties (Ward 8)
Piers O’Conor, Pat Tapley, Michael Le Bourgeois (captain), Tom Griffiths, Dean Adamson, Myles Dorrian, Henry Taylor; Alex Lundberg, Charlie Clare, Biyi Alo, Joe Latta, Mike Howard, Justin Blanchet, Josh Buggea, Joel Conlon
Sam James, Camilo Parilli-Ocampo, James Currie, Paul Tupai, Jordan Burns, Jake Sharp, Henry Staff
Luke Daniels, Rhys Crane, Danny Barnes, Toby Howley-Berridge, Phil Chesters, Ben Ward, Alex Walker; Will Davis, Rhys Lawrence (captain), Alex Penny, Carwyn Jones, Adam Preocanin, Iain Grieve, Arthur Ellis, Chris York
Karl Gibson, Sam Rodman, Harrison Orr, Danny Kenny, Callum Wilson, Alex Davies, Jonny Bentley
Referee – Dean Richards
Attendance – 2, 082