REPORT: Cinderford 27 – 22 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders slipped to only their second defeat of the season away to Cinderford, but managed to run in four tries and had the consolation of at least leaving with two bonus points.
The second from bottom club deserved a victory that mixed determined play with some moments of verse inspiration, while the four points allowed them to climb out of the relegation places.
Ealing Trailfinders didn’t wait around to go on the attack and after pinching the first lineout Chris Kinloch and Llewelyn Jones both attacked the line with relish. The pack also stamped their authority on the scrum by winning a penalty against the head at the first, but despite kicking to the corner, their rolling maul was stopped by the Cinderford defence.
For the first 15 minutes both teams failed to take capitalise on good possession, with the sides camped either side of the halfway line as passes failed to reached their intended target and scrums a regular feature as both sides knocked on.
Cinderford number 8 Dan Fry nearly ended the monotony when he broke the Ealing Trailfinders defence with a pick up from a scrum that preceded a charge down the blind-side. However a couple of phases on there was another knock on and the forwards packed down for another scrum.
Second row Mike Walker-Fitton eventually opened the scoring with 18 minutes on the clock. Tom Brown won a line-out, Andy Reay and Arthur Ellis pushed the defence back and eventually the second row had the relatively straightforward job of crashing over from close range.
The score opened the match up and Cinderford went on the attack but again Ealing Trailfinders’ pack proved to be too strong at the scrum and the quick hands allowed the visitors pack to run out the danger.
They came again though and despite Reay and Ben Ward making important tackles centre Sam Hanks managed to cross in the corner for a try that fly-half James Moffatt converted.
Ealing Trailfinders retook the lead after Phil Chesters scored in the corner following a sniping break from Alex Walker and the wing nearly broke away after the backline ran the ball from their own 22 only for Cinderford fullback Mike Wilcox to get back and snuff out the danger.
Moffat scored the first points of the second half with a well-struck penalty and then put the hosts back in the lead with another from in front of the posts following a period in which they attacked the Ealing Trailfinders line with gusto.
Tom Brown powered over from a rolling maul, but the hosts responded immediately after Wilcox chipped the defence and off-loaded to Hanks who had a simple run in for his second.
The see-saw nature of the match continued when Brown added another try to his burgeoning tally from the back of a driving lineout and with Ward landing his first conversion of the day Ealing Trailfinders were back ahead with 10 minutes remaining.
Once again though the hosts responded in emphatic fashion and from a catch and drive the referee awarded a penalty try that Moffat had no problem converting and despite Ealing Trailfinders pounding the Cinderford line they were unable to break through as the clock ran down.
Tries (Hanks 30, 59, penalty 73), Conversions (Moffat 31, 60, 73), Penalties (Moffat 43, 53)
Tries (Walker-Fitton 17, Chesters 35, Brown 47, 67), Conversions (Ward 67)
Mike Wilcox (captain), Nev Codlin, Sam Hanks, Jack Adams, Stef Hawley, James Moffat, Clive Stuart-Smith; Chris Bundy, Sam Wilkes, Jake Caulfield, Roger Birkin, Ed King, George Mills, Marcus Brown, Dan Fry
Alex Frame, Joe Smart, Shay Kerry, Sam Underhill, Jack Cosgrove
Luke Daniels, Chris Kinloch, Sam Wardingley, Andy Reay, Phil Chesters, Ben Ward, Alex Walker; Will Davis, Andrei Radoi, Nathan Buck, Carwyn Jones, Michael Walker-Fitton, Llewelyn Jones, Arthur Ellis, Tom Brown (captain)
Jamie Kilbane, Alex Penny, Paul Spivey, Red Pennycook, Owen Bruynseels
Referee – Geraint Roberts