London Scottish 22-28 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders ended their run of six defeats with a drama-filled win over London Scottish that moves them off the bottom of the Greene King IPA Championship table.
After a tepid first half the match opened up after half-time and by the end both teams were flinging themselves at each other, London Scottish as they chased the win and Ealing Trailfinders as they sought to hang onto their bonus-point victory.
Alex Bradley score twice, Adam Preocanin ran in his first of the season and Luke Daniels also touched down, while Alex Davies scored all four conversions for Director of Coaching Ben Ward’s team in front of a bumper crowd of 1, 260 at the Athletic Ground.
A loose kick to touch two minutes in allowed Ealing Trailfinders to take the early initiative when Bradley was driven over from Carwyn Jones’ catch, but the Exiles were soon on the scoreboard when Rory Hughes picked up from a ruck and raced home.
Hughes nearly escaped for a second from a set-piece move in the Scottish backs, but Ealing Trailfinders fullback Daniels came up with a try-saving tackle five yards out.
It marked a rare highlight in a first-half that was dominated by two teams happy to boot the ball into the air, either side of packing down for seemingly never-ending scrums or clearing up badly thrown line-outs.
Eventually Ealing Trailfinders broke through the mediocrity when former Scottish player Preocanin cantered home after Callum Wilson had broken the Scottish defence with a powerful run.
The visitors added their third one minute after the restart when Daniels raced onto Alex Davies’s long kick and enjoyed the bounce of the ball to race in.
Scottish hit back with some ferocious play, but Ealing Trailfinders captain Rhys Lawrence secured a vital turnover to allow Davies to clear just as Scottish were threatening the visitor’s line.
Peter Lydon slotted a penalty for the hosts and it had the requisite effect of lifting their spirits and shortly afterwards Chris Walker dived over after George Horne’s nimble feet had found a way through the Ealing Trailfinders defence.
Once again though the visitors struck next when Bradley ran hard off Davies to dive over from close range and secure the bonus point.
Scottish responded with a try from Oli Grove to set up a grandstand final 10 minutes. Davies was sent to the sin-bin, but a well-timed Preocanin line-out steal and James Stephenson intercept allowed Ealing Trailfinders to clear their lines.
Daniels again saved Ealing Trailfinders after Horne had crossed the line. Scottish were penalised at the scrum, but Ealing Trailfinders failed to clear their half yet again. It summed up the frantic mind-set that gripped both teams as the clock ran down.
There was one last chance for the Exiles, but as they tried to drive over from a line-out they were penalised for a truck and trailer and from the resulting scrum Ealing Trailfinders number eight Chris York broke and when the ball came back Alex Walker hammered it to safety.
Tries (Hughes 9, Walker 54, Grove 69), Conversions (Lydon 54, Lydon 69), Penalties (Lydon 48)
Tries (Bradley 4, 57 Preocanin 36, Daniels 41), Conversions (Davies 4, 36, 41, 57)
Peter Lydon, Jason Harries, Robbie Fergusson, Oli Grove, Rory Hughes, Dan Newton, George Horne; James Gibbons, Adam Kwasnicki, Matt Shields, Neale Patrick, Will Carrick Smith, Mark Bright (captain), Chris Walker, Freddie Clarke
Jack Cosgrove, David Cherry, Geoff Cross, Rory Bartle, Tyrone Moran, Matt Heeks, Lee Millar
Luke Daniels, Callum Wilson, Sam Stanley, Joe Munro, James Stephenson, Tristan Roberts, Alex Davies; Will Davis, Rhys Lawrence (captain), Michael Holford, Carwyn Jones, Adam Preocanin, Harrison Orr, Alex Bradley, Chris York
Jamie Kilbane, Alun Walker, Sam Rodman, Llewelyn Jones, Arthur Ellis, Alex Walker, Will Harries
Referee – Andrew Jackson
Attendance – 1, 260