Jersey Reds 13-19 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders rang in the New Year in fine style by beating old rivals Jersey Reds at St Peter, their second win over the Channel Islanders in this season’s Greene King IPA Championship.
The result took Ben Ward’s side up to fourth in the Championship table after they had slipped to fifth place overnight.
Centre Joe Munro scored his second try in two matches against Jersey Reds this season and fly-half Aaron Penberthy weighed in with a conversion, drop goal and three second-half penalties that secured the result.
Ward’s team took the lead and held it for the rest of the match and when Jersey Reds’ pack tried to impose themselves as the clock ticked down, the Ealing Trailfinders forwards responded in powerful fashion to close out the result.
Ealing Trailfinders started in good form and quickly had their hosts under pressure after they forced them into conceding a number of penalties. Twice they tried to attack through a driven line-out, but on both occasions the Reds defence held firm.
Luke Daniels then had a chance to open the scoring but was unable to collect Penberthy’s cross-kick.
As the match settled down Jersey Reds went on the attack, but a couple of loose lineout throws allowed the visitors to hold out in defence.
With quarter of an hour gone the deadlock was broken when Penberthy opened the scoring with a smartly taken drop goal.
Lewis Jones then set up another attack when he was first to Penberthy’s chip kick. Munro was stopped narrowly short of the Jersey line, but after the pack continued to attack Munro crossed at the second time of asking.
Ealing Trailfinders kept up their pressure and Penberthy showed his running ability with a run that took him past three Jersey defenders and up to the hosts line.
Jersey Reds fullback Ross Adair and Heath Stevens both had runs off their own, but the home side scored their first points when prop Simon Kerrod was driven over from a rolling maul. Fly-half Sam Katz added the conversion to bring them within three points as half-time drew near.
Penberthy scored his first penalty of the match early in the second half to give the visitors a six-point lead, but Jersey responded immediately with a penalty of their own through Katz.
The Ealing Trailfinders fly-half scored his second penalty almost immediately but Katz hit back with his to keep the home team in touching distance. As Ealing Trailfinders pack began to match their opposite number they earned Penberthy the chance to score his third and he didn’t disappoint as the time ticked past the 65-minute mark.
Hooker Jack Macfarlane came close to crossing in the corner for the hosts, but after the opted for a line-out after a penalty Daniels led the counter-attack that took play into the Jersey half.
Jersey Reds came again with a driving maul from a line-out and then opted for a scrum from another. However, the Ealing Trailfinders pack held firm to win a penalty and Luke Carter hammered the ball off the field to ensure the victory.
Tries (Kerrod 37), Conversions (Katz 37), Penalties (Katz 48, 53)
Tries (Munro 21), Conversions (Penberthy 21), Penalties (Penberthy 44, 51, 65), Drop goal (Penberthy 15)
Ross Adair, George Watkins, Juki Ma’afu, Heath Stevens, Jordan Davies, Sam Katz, Kieran Hardy; Marc Thomas, Joe Buckle, Simon Kerrod, Nick Campbell, Dave McKern, Gary Graham, James Freeman (capt), Nick Haining
Jack Macfarlane, Sean McCarthy, Mark Tampin, Uili Kolo’i, Max Argyle, Sami Fisilau, Joel Dudley
Luke Daniels, Will Harries, Lewis Jones, Joe Munro, Jams Cordy-Redden, Aaron Penberthy, Luke Carter; James Gibbons, Alun Walker, Lewis Thiede, Glen Townson, Barney Maddison, Kieran Murphy, Seb Nagle-Taylor, Mark Bright (capt)
Matt Cornish, Will Davis, Sam Rodman, Harry Casson, Adam Preocanin, Alex Walker, Luke Carter
Referee – Kristoff Ridley
Attendance – 1,596