Doncaster Knights 21-29 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders secured a second consecutive win on the road in the Greene King IPA Championship and in doing so closed the gap to Doncaster Knights in third place to four points
It was an impressive performance by Ben Ward’s side who dominated the first half and then withstood a Knights’ fightback as fulltime drew near.
Four Aaron Penberthy penalties put Ealing Trailfindes 9-3 ahead at half-time, though the Knights defence had stopped them from breeching the try-line. Barney Maddison made the breakthrough midway through the second half, but when Knights debutant Aaron Carpenter scored on his debut with eight minutes remaining it appeared as though the Yorkshiremen had performed a smash and grab job.
However, the team maintained their focus as the clock ran down and Joe Munro cut a strong line from a scrum to retake the lead. Penberthy’s conversion and then drop goal just before the final whistle meant that there would also be no bonus point for the hosts.
Ealing Trailfinders didn’t hang around and began in determined mood. Penberthy scored his first penalty for an early lead, but the Knights hit back with one of their own through Dougie Flockhart.
The match continued became a battle of Ealing Trailfinders’ attack against Doncaster Knights defence, who held out the visitor’s efforts on a number of occasions. They did add another two penalties through Penberthy’s right boot when wing Sean Scanlon was in the sin-bin for making contact with James Cordy-Redden in the air.
The second half began in the same vein when Penberthy scored his fourth penalty after Knights centre Lloyd Hayes had become the second play to be yellow-carded.
They responded immediately when Michael Heaney pounced on a loose restart to run in the first try of the match to bring the score to 12-8, but Maddison then took advantage of a pass straight to him that allowed him to canter home.
As the clock ticked past the hour mark the home side raised their intensity and Flockhart slotted two penalties to close to within five points. They kept Ealing Trailfinders in deep in their half and after a strong carry from Jarad Williams from a scrum Carpenter forced his way over from the next phase to give the hosts the lead for the first time.
With the final whistle approaching Munro cut a swathe through the Knights defence and then from the restart the team went through the phases to establish a position from where Penberthy could pop over a drop goal to silence the 1,452 crowd.
Tries (Heaney 49, Carpenter 72), Conversions (Flockhart 72), Penalties (Flockhart16, 63, 66)
Tries (Maddison 58, Munro 78), Conversions (Penberthy 58, 78), Penalties (Penberthy 9, 21, 30, 43), Drop Goal (Penberthy 80)
Paul Jarvis, Dougie Flockhart, Lloyd Hayes, Mat Clark, Tyson Lewis, Dec Cusack, Michael Heaney, Richard List, Ben Hunter, WillGriff John, Matt Challinor, Dave Nolan, Jack Ram, Michael Hills (captain), Jarad Williams
Jack Bergmanas, Harry Allen, Colin Quigley, Latu Makaafi, Aaron Carpenter, Sam Edgerley, Sean Scanlon
Luke Daniels, Miles Mantella, Lewis Jones, Joe Munro, James Cordy-Redden, Aaron Penberthy, Luke Carter; Will Davis, Alun Walker, Lewis Thiede, Llewelyn Jones, Barney Maddison, Chris York, Rayn Smid, Mark Bright (captain)
Matt Cornish, Ignacio Lancuba, Sam Rodman, Adam Preocanin, Willie Ryan, Alex Walker, Will Harries
Attendance - 1,452