Reay ready for one last test in 2014
Defensive coach Andy Reay has called for one last big effort against Old Albanian on Saturday so that the Ealing Trailfinders first XV squad can fully enjoy the Christmas break.
Earlier in the season Ealing Trailfinders beat Old Albanian 47-30 in a free-flowing, open match in which both teams sought to run the ball as much as possible and the players know that a win will send them into the festive period top of the table.
“They play a very attractive style of rugby and are on a great run recently, ” Reay said. “Last time we played them we were in control of the game at half time but they showed how dangerous they can be in the second half, and pushed us very close.
“I would prefer us to be more ruthless this week, but we know how much of improved outfit OA's are compared to last time.”
A week ago Ealing Trailfinders ensured that they would be first in National 1 at the halfway stage of the season with a 17-16 victory away to Rosslyn Park, their closest rivals in the league.
The match at the Rock was a firm test of Ealing Trailfinders’ capabilities and one they managed to pass, albeit closer than they would have preferred.
A converted penalty try two minutes from time earned the win and was just reward for the way Ben Ward’s side maintained their composure in the final minutes despite trailing 16-10 after a bruising encounter in which neither side held anything back.
“It was a very tough match, ” Reay said. “Overall I think they are the strongest team we have come up against and to beat them away from home was a great feeling.
“The morale in the squad has been good this week, but there were some tired bodies so we have tried to manage this as best we can. Training has been very positive, we are fully aware that in the past we have dropped in intensity after a big win, so this has been a big focus for us this week.”
Reay and the rest of the coaching team have been busy since pre-season preparing the team for the challenge of National 1.
For the moment it is a case of so far, so good, but there is the realisation that there can be no let up as the season moves closer to its conclusion.
“We are generally pretty happy with how the season has gone so far, we are top of the table which is very positive, ” Reay said. “I think our attacking play has been getting better as the season has gone on and hopefully Ben and Paddy (Gill – skills coach) can keep that going.
“Defensively it has been good in the most part, but we are not consistent enough yet. I believe that defence is primarily about intensity, and if we have that we are fine, but if we are just a little off the pace, we are not so good. This is something I would like to see improve in the second half of the season.”