REPORT: Coventry 32 - 26 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders slipped to their first defeat of the season when they conceded four tries to three against a fired-up Coventry side that were roared on by a season’s best crowd of 1, 408, but they at least left with four-try and losing bonus points as consolation.
The fans at Butts Park Arena didn’t have to wait long for the first points; Coventry captain and fullback Cliffie Hodgson knocked over a penalty from just inside his own half after only two minutes.
Five minutes later they added the first try when centre Rob Knox wiggled free in midfield to race away for a try in the corner. Ealing Trailfinders then enjoyed their first foray into the Coventry half, but after winning two penalties close to the line they were unable to break down Coventry’s defence and the hosts cleared the danger.
The Ealing Trailfinders pack didn’t let up though and after winning a penalty from a scrum, Ben Ward kicked to the corner and from the lineout Andrei Radoi was driven over to mark his return from international action for Romania.
Hodgson missed two penalty attempts, but the hosts continued to enjoy the better of the attack and kept Ealing Trailfinders pinned in their own 22 with strong defence and the desire to run the ball when the chance presented itself.
Hodgson missed a third penalty and it preceded Ealing Trailfinders’ best period of the first half. Phil Chesters nearly broke away from a Ward cross-kick and only a mix-up in midfield stopped another attack.
Once again the pack set up the try from another catch and drive and this time it was team captain Tom Brown who fixed himself onto the back of a maul to score and put Ealing Trailfinders ahead for the first time in the match.
The pack continued put the squeeze on and Andy Reay and Radoi went close as halftime arrived.
After the break Danny Kenny came close with an early charge, but Knox again scored the opening points of the half when he broke through the middle for a try that Matt Jones converted to give the hosts the lead.
Again Ealing Trailfinders’ pack capped the team’s good work to retake the lead through Alex Bradley from another catch and drive. Coventry didn’t lie down though and went back in front when Sam Pailor forced his way over from close range to retake the lead.
They then stretched their lead further when they capitalised on a break from Dominic Lespierre to send Hodgson over in the corner and with Jones’ conversion Ealing Trailfinders had eight points to make up in the final 10 minutes.
Coventry maintained their pressure to the end and kept the visitors pinned back in their own half for the remainder of the match and Jones put a gloss on with a late penalty.
However, Chesters scored in he corner late on to ensure Ealing Trailfinders had some points to take back with them down the motorway.
Cliffie Hodgson (captain), Dom Lespierre, Callum MacBurnie, Rob Knox, Will Hurrell, Matt Jones, Wayne Evans; Andy Brown, Matt Price, Adam Parkins, Tom Poole, Scott Morgan, Sam Pailor, Lewis Ludlam, Ed Milne
Finlay Sinclair, Beno Obano, Jordan Onojaife, Dan Rundle, Louis Silver
Ronnie McLean, Chris Kinloch, Sam Wardingley, Andy Reay, Phil Chesters, Ben Ward, Alex Walker; Jamie Kilbane, Andrei Radoi, Nathan Buck, Carwyn Jones, Llewelyn Jones, Danny Kenny, Alex Bradley, Tom Brown (captain)
Kevin Davis, Alex Penny, Steve Pape, Anders Nilsson, Matt Jarvis
Tries (Knox 7, 43, 60, Hodgson 69), Conversions (Jones 45, 60, 69), Penalties (Hodgson 2, Jones 79)
Tries (Radoi 16, Brown 35, Bradley 51, Chesters 80), Conversions (Ward 18, 36, 52)
Referee – Veryan Boscawen
Attendance – 1, 480
Yellow cards – Adam Parkins (Coventry), Wayne Evans (Coventry)