FIRST XV - Match centre

Ealing Trailfinders
Sedgley Park
Sat 25 Feb 14:00 - RFU National - National League 1 Full time


SSE NATIONAL LEAGUE ONE: Ealing Trailfinders 27 (5) – Sedgley Park 13 (0): The match report by Chris Paine


It’s hard to believe that its three defeats on the bounce for the Tigers you have to take a quick look at who and the level of team we had been playing and once understood it shows the effort of the last two games have been good.

We travelled to Valis Way to the very well-equipped home Ealing of Trailfinders for our very first trip to this ground. The weather even turned out for the travelling Mancunian’s too in what was a perfect day for running rugby.

Ealing who are in second place in the league put have been out of sorts on the last few games did not need much other encouragement as they started playing down the slight slope they soon exploded into life with three quick fire tries to try and win the game within the first ten minutes.

The game was only two minutes old when top try scorer Phil Chesters exploited the chaos created by Ealing’s quick shipped ball into even quicker phase up rugby to go over in the wide left corner for the first try.

Tigers did not look at ease with the pace and intensity of the game and within minutes the right hand channel was being worked hard by Ealing as they wrapped around wide only for the ball to whipped back across the Tigers defence. Missed tackles but mainly some superb hard running from an in form Ealing outside centre Ronal-McLean-Dents who smashed over between the posts on 5 minutes.

Ben Cooper kicked the conversion.

Tigers at this point needed to keep their hands on the ball and led by Captain Nick Flynn; they started to slow things down before the game turned into a rout. Ealing were not comfortable with the change in pace and the slow but effective build-up of phases by the Tigers and the homes teams frustration to get the ball back became a costly response and one the referee Andrew Taylorson was quick to penalise.

Two penalties for Sedge with the second being a huge kick by Matt Riley in a five minute spell not only got gave hope to visitors but it had such a quick unnerving response on the home side they looked unable to rethink the game plan.

Ben Cooper kicked the conversion.

Tigers kept the pressure up, keeping the ball and making Ealing over commit at the breakdown. It needed cool heads and in loose-head prop forward Danny Birchall was a constant thorn in the side for Ealing.

It may have taken some time to get the ball back but once Ealing had done so they knew exactly what to do with it.

Ealing cranked up the intensity but if not some terrific tackling by fullback Richard Wainwright who kept the score line down, but on Ealing came. This time exploiting the Tigers left wing, Ealing using good quick hands crafted out a big overlap for winger Sam Wardingley to go over in the corner on 16 minutes.

Once more the conversion was missed and once more the Tigers looked as though they were on the ropes.

With the home crowd wanting an early bonus point to make it the perfect day, Tigers knew they had to graft for every inch of ground keep it tight at the ruck and keep hold of the ball. Pick and go, pick and go Tigers forced back the home team.

The forwards galvanised by Louis McGowan started to make good territory and with half backs Simon and Chris Parrott pulling the strings and probing every chink of space, this took the heat out of the Ealing attacks.

Ealing on the back foot at last and deep into their own territory the sleek Ealing machine became unorganised and the smallest chink of light in the defensive wall after several retaken free kicks had Chris Parrott dancing past tacklers for Tigers first try on 33 minutes.

Matt Riley kicked the conversion

If it was all Ealing in the first 20 it was Tigers in the second quarter as they pushed Ealing all the way until the halftime whistle.



With second forty underway things looked good for Sedge new found hope, playing downhill and with Ealing down to 14 was this the day for an unlikely away win as they went to make the advantage count early on.

Ealing weathered the early onslaught and had as the perfect response a real sucker punch try as top scorer Phil Chesters found time and space out wide for Ealing fourth and bonus point try on 48 minutes.

Ben Cooper kicked the conversion.

So with a classic final 30 minutes in front of both teams, the game descended into a mass stop start affair as both teams could not keep hold of the dry ball in perfect conditions. The referee in particular did not like Ealing at the breakdown as they fell foul on numerous occasions which stifled their once flowing play.

Tigers should have took advantage of this and they did make the most of the skirmishes but two dropped passes at the vital try scoring moment went begging and with it any hope of the game.

Matt Riley had an exceptional game threatening the Ealing line all throughout the second period and he was Tigers standout performer on the day closely followed by Richard Wainwright

In the 61st minute as the game got stretched and with Ealing working the wide left channel, Richard Oxley found himself in a prone situation and in a desperate attempt to stop a certain try went into a tackle and was adjudged to have gone high.

A yellow card soon followed and with it Tigers hopes of winning the game. With the game all but won Ealing played out the remaining game resting and making changes whilst unable to find their earlier rhythm.

Just before the final whistle Ben Ward kicked a penalty to put a bit of extra gloss on the score line on a good game of rugby and Ealing were good for the win.

Richard Senior and Dave Peet will have to lick their wounds for another week as they head South Westwards towards forest of Dene as the Tigers take on Cinderford.

Cinderford will be one of the teams to watch next season as the demonstrated in the game at Park Lane, although on the day Tigers played exceptional and were good for the points.

This will be another tough game on the road but has been shown in recent weeks Tigers are not that close for the top teams running them both close, may be it will be our day this Saturday

On a separate note I would like to thank all at Ealing for making us all feel so welcome and a great first day at Valis Way

All the best

Chris Paine


Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other National League 1 results

Birmingham & Solihull
Rosslyn Park


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League table

# Team Pd Pts
9. Sedgley Park 29 69
10. Cambridge 29 68
11. Coventry 29 67
12. Wharfedale 29 66
13. Tynedale 29 66
14. Birmingham & Solihull 29 45
15. Stourbridge 29 44
16. Barking 29 40

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