REPORT: Rosslyn Park 16 – 17 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders left it late to secure a vital win over second-placed Rosslyn Park in a match that swung back and forth for the entire 80 minutes and which leaves them four points clear at the top of National 1.
Ben Ward’s side scored three tries but they were pushed hard throughout by a well-drilled and talented Rosslyn Park side that had designs on top spot in National 1.
Rosslyn Park kicked off and enjoyed the better of the opening 10 minutes, though they were unable to find a way through Ealing Trailfinders’ defence and fly-half Louis Grimoldby wasted the chance to open the scoring when he hit a penalty attempt short.
Grimoldby struck his second penalty better on 15 minutes to open the scoring, but the visitors hit back immediately when Jamie Kilbane burrowed over from close range.
For the next 10 minutes the sides continued to do their best to break through each other’s lines, but defences stayed on top, while in the set-piece the forwards were evenly matched.
Chris Kinloch pinned the Park defence back with an incisive run, but a few phases on the hosts won a turnover and were able to clear their lines. Grimoldby had another chance with a penalty when Nathan Buck was sent to the sinbin, but again he hit it short.
Kilbane was yellow carded to mean that Ealing Trailfinders went in at halftime down to 13 men and Grimoldby’s second penalty meant the hosts led 6-5 at the break.
Three Gary Johnson lineout wins early in the second half helped settle Ealing Trailfinders nerves and from the third on the Rosslyn Park 22 it allowed the attack to break Park’s defence and only a late tackle stopped Phil Chesters from adding another try to his collection.
However, it was the hosts who scored the first points of the second half when Grimoldby slotted his third penalty of the match.
Four minutes later though Ealing Trailfinders scored their second try of the match when Kinloch released Chesters and this time he had the time and space to score. Park then responded in similar fashion to retake the lead as Alex Bellamy crashed over from close range for a try that Grimoldby converted.
As Ealing Trailfinders chased the match Will Harries finally had the chance to test the Park defence and after cutting through the defence only good work from his opposite number Nev Edwards stopped Chesters from scoring a second from the Welshman’s grubber.
Sam Shires became the third player sent to the sinbin as the clocked ticked down and Park did their utmost to hold onto their lead. Ealing Trailfinders twice tried for a catch and drive and on the second referee Greg McDonald awarded a penalty try after the Park pack pulled their opposite numbers down. Ward’s conversion meant the visitors led with only two minutes on the clock.
Rosslyn Park made once last attempt to snatch back victory, but great work by Buck at a mall allowed Ealing Trailfinders to win the ball back and seconds later McDonald blew his whistle to bring the end to an enthralling encounter.
Nev Edwards, Dave Vincent, Kiba Richards, Dante Mama, Charles Broughton, Louis Grimoldby, Luke Carter; Aaron Liffchak, Adam Bellamy, Alex McKenzie, Will Bowley, Richard Boyle, Mike McFarlane, Sam Shires, Hugo Ellis (captain)
Tom Woolstencroft, Alex Lundberg, Harry Broadbent, Jack Gash, Scott Sneddon
Will Harries, Chris Kinloch, Sam Wardingley, Andy Reay, Phil Chesters, Ben Ward, Alex Walker; Jamie Kilbane, Andrei Radoi, Nathan Buck, Carwyn Jones, Gary Johnson, Red Pennycook, Arthur Ellis, Danny Kenny (captain)
Karl Gibson, Alex Penny, Steve Pape, Tom Brown, Tom Wheatcroft
Tries (Bellamy 58), Penalties (Grimoldby 15, 40, 50)
Tries (Kilbane 20, Chesters 54, penalty 78), Conversions (Ward 78)
Referee – Greg McDonald
Attendance – 1, 590