Nottingham 22-18 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders left Lady Bay with a losing bonus point after a hard-fought clash against Nottingham.
Luke Daniels scored two tries and Jonny Bentley converted one and added two penalties to move Ben Ward’s side four points clear of Moseley at the bottom of the Greene King IPA Championship.
It didn’t take Ealing Trailfinders long to find their stride and after a strong carry from James Cordy-Redden gave them good field position, Nottingham were penalised and Bentley stroked over the first of his penalties.
Soon after Cordy-Redden set up Daniels for the first of his tries with a clever grubber down the wing that the fullback swooped on to race away for a score that Bentley converted.
Nottingham kept their poise though and with Dan Mugford pulling the strings from fly-half and Darryl Veenendaal a lively presence at scrum-half they capitalised on a penalty to kick to touch and drive number eight Paul Grant over for his 18th try of the season.
Daniels scored his second after Bentley broke the line and set him free to race home to the corner, but Nottingham hit back when wing Pila Iongi powered his way down the right for their second try.
Ealing Trailfinders continued to keep up the pressure as the half wore down, but were unable to find a way through Nottingham’s defence. They then began the second half in the ascendancy, but again without adding to their score.
Nottingham drew to within a point after referee Dean Richards awarded a penalty try for collapsing a rolling maul. The hosts continued to build pressure, but first Alun Walker and then Arthur Ellis swooped on loose line-out throws to help clear the danger.
Former Ealing Trailfinders fullback Billy Robinson nearly set Iongi up for his second try, but his grubber kick ran dead and then when an Ellis run took the visitors up to Nottingham’s line it was the home side’s turn to steal a vital line-out at a crucial moment.
Eight minutes from time Grant was driven over for his second try of the night to earn the home side the four-try bonus, but when they tried again Ealing Trailfinders’ defence forced the Nottingham forwards into a knock-on.
From the scrum on their line substitute scrum-half Tom Trotter organised his forwards to run the clock down and then kick to touch to ensure that Ealing Trailfinders didn’t leave the East Midlands empty-handed.
Tries (Daniels 7, 18), Conversions (Bentley 8), Penalties (Bentley 4, 16)
Tries (Grant 11, 72 Iongi 14, Penalty 48), Conversions (Mugford 49)
Billy Robinson, Pila Iongi, Joe Cobden, Heath Stevens, Sam Coghlan Murray, Dan Mugford, Darryl Veenendaal; Kieran Davies, Jon Vickers, Tom Heard, Rupert Cooper, Toby Freeman, Rob Langley, Matt Everard (C), Paul Grant
TJ Harris, Harry Morley, Conor Carey, George Cox, Murray McConnell, Lawrence Rayner, Ben Woods
Luke Daniels, Rhys Crane, Danny Barnes, Tom Wheatcroft, James Cordy-Redden, Jonny Bentley, Alex Walker; Will Davis, Alun Walker, Alex Penny, Paul Spivey, Adam Preocanin, Iain Grieve, Arthur Ellis, Chris York (captain)
Jamie Kilbane, Karl Gibson, Nathan Buck, Carwyn Jones, Llewelyn Jones, Tom Trotter, Ben Ward
Referee – Dean Richards
Attendance – 968