London Welsh 3 – 27 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders returned from their trip across Kew Bridge with a vital four-point win against London Welsh at Old Deer Park that takes them off the bottom of the Greene King IPA Championship.
Former Exiles scrum-half Alex Davies led the way with 17 points from his boot and after both teams improved after a scrappy first half there were tries after the break from Alex Bradley and James Stephenson.
Davies kicked off and by the end of the first half his was the only name on the scoresheet after he landed four penalties for the only points of the half.
His first came after four minutes when Welsh were penalised for holding on as they sought to clear their half.
The points set Ealing Trailfinders up for a good opening quarter and some judicious kicking kept the Exiles penned back in their half, while the visiting defence kept out Welsh’s attack that was led by USA international Thretton Palamo, who was making his debut in the centre.
Davies added his second penalty just before the 20-minute match. Neither side appeared able to tame the wet and windy conditions to keep hold of possession and the nearest either came to breaching the line came when Ealing Trailfinders wing Stephenson intercepted and set up a kick-chase that Welsh fullback Seb Jewell was the first to.
Nonetheless it kept Ben Ward’s side on the front foot and they were duly rewarded when Davies kept the score ticking over with another penalty after Ealing Trailfinders’ pack had driven the London Welsh eight back in the scrum.
The scrum-half had one more chance after Welsh were whistled for infringing at a line-out and he stretched Ealing Trailfinders lead to 12-0 at the half.
A superb break by Alex Bradley and then Stephenson set up position in the Welsh 22, Luke Daniels broke the line, but after Welsh number eight Kieran Murphy was yellow-carded for infringing, Davies scored his fifth penalty.
Joe Carlisle opened Welsh’s scoring with a penalty, but immediately made way for one-time England international Olly Barkley, who made a quick impact by setting Chris Elder running down the left wing.
He failed to collect his kick ahead and after they opted to kick a penalty to touch, Adam Preocanin pinched their throw and Stephenson led the counter-attack to cleat their half.
Soon after from a catch and drive Bradley was driven over for a try that Davies converted, then when Welsh went back on the defence Ealing Trailfinders’ defence stood tall and Stephenson once again led the break-out from defence.
Stephenson was rewarded for his endeavours with 10 minutes to go. Phil Chesters, Preocanin and Arthur Lewis led the counter-attack and the wing swooped onto Ward’s cross-kick and showed great strength to hold off two tacklers to cross for his first Ealing Trailfinders try.
Penalties (Carlisle 50)
Tries (Bradley 62, Stephenson 72), Conversions (Davies 62), Penalties (Davies 4, 19, 38, 40, 47)
Seb Jewell, Martyn Thomas, Nic Reynolds, Thretton Palamo, Chris Elder, Joe Carlisle, Ryan Glynn, Darryl Marfo, Harry Allen, Jack Gilding, Brendon Snyman, Matt Corker (captain), Dan Leo, Darren Waters, Kieran Murphy
Nathan Morris, Nathan Trevett, Eddie Aholelei, Ben West, Ben Pienaar, Rob Lewis, Olly Barkley
Luke Daniels, James Stephenson, Danny Barnes, Tom Wheatcroft, Phil Chesters, Ben Ward, Alex Davies; Jamie Kilbane, Alun Walker, Michael Holford, Carwyn Jones, Adam Preocanin, Llewelyn Jones, Alex Bradley, Chris York (captain)
George Porter, Rhys Lawrence, Sam Rodman, Harrison Orr, Arthur Ellis, Alex Walker, Will Harries
Referee – Simon Harding
Attendance - 803