REPORT: Darlington MP 14- 21 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders returned from a tricky away fixture against Darlington Mowden Park with four points, which keeps them three clear at the top of National 1.
Ben Ward’s side scored three tries before half-time, but they were unable to add to their tally in the second half as the home team dug deep in defence in front of 948 fans at the Northern Echo Arena.
The home side came out in determined mood and had the chance to take the lead, but their fly-half Tom Hodgson was off target with a penalty.
Ealing Trailfinders responded in the best way possible when Phil Chesters claimed Ward’s chip to race away for the opening score that Ward converted from the touchline.
Five minutes later Ealing Trailfinders captain Tom Brown added the second. The number 8 swooped on a loose ball and ran in between the posts for a simple conversion that Ward knocked over without problem.
The hosts were next on the scoresheet as they hit back immediately.
From a lineout their pack executed a well-timed catch and drive and second row Rob Conquest raced from the middle of it to open Darlington Mowden Park’s account with a try that Hodgson converted.
As halftime approached Ealing Trailfinders began to reassert themselves on the match and they scored their third try just after the half hour mark when the pack won a penalty try after the Darlington Mowden Park scrum collapsed.
After the break the home side raised their game and their pack began to earn parity with Ealing Trailfinders’. Scrum-half Zylon McGaffin darted over for a try that, along with Hodgson’s second conversion closed the gap to seven points.
The try sparked the hosts’ confidence and they threw everything at Ealing Trailfinders defence in the final 20 minutes as they chased the draw and possibly more. In the end though Ealing Trailfinders’ defence stood firm and ensured their unbeaten run remained intact.
Darlington Mowden Park
Henry Robinson, Jamie Barnard, Cameron Mitchell, Jamie Barnard, Callum McKenzie, Tom Hodgson, Zylon McGaffin; Gareth Nesbit, Matt Thompson, Ralph Appleby, Rob Conquest, Chris Campbell, George Hedgley, Jack Allcock, Guy van den Dries
Paul Hill, Simon Uzokwe, Charlie Maddison, Max Connon, Joe Nellan
Will Harries, Owen Bruynseels, Sam Wardingley, Tom Wheatcroft, Phil Chesters, Ben Ward, Alex Walker; Jamie Kilbane, Alun Walker, Nathan Buck, Carwyn Jones, Gary Johnson, Red Pennycook, Danny Kenny, Tom Brown (captain)
Kevin Davis, Will Davis, Steve Pape, Arthur Ellis, Ronnie McLean
Darlington Mowden Park
Tries (Conquest 16, McGaffin 68), Conversions (Hodgson 17, 68)
Tries (Chesters 9, Brown 14, Penalty 31), Conversion (Ward 10, 15, 31)
Referee – James Clarke
Attendance - 948