REPORT: Loughborough Students 8 - 31 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders rounded off their National 1 winning season in fine style with a five-try win against a lively and tricky Loughborough Students side.
The win ensured that Ben Ward’s side finish the season on 136 points from 27 victories and three defeats.
Once the officials managed to free themselves from their locked changing room both sides started with the intention of keeping the ball in hand and moving play wide when they could.
Tom Wheatcroft came close to grabbing an early try, but he knocked on close to the line. Two minutes later though his partner in the centre, Sam Wardingley opened the scoring when he collected his tricky grubber kick to run in from close range.
Luke Daniels stopped the Students from hitting back immediately when he held up Tom James over the line, but shortly after the scrumhalf put the hosts on the scoreboard when he knocked over a penalty. Two minutes later and the Students were ahead when number 8 Matthew Rogerson picked a strong line from a deft offload to run in a try.
Both teams tried to keep the ball alive, but as the heavens opened they were unable to put the seal on good build up play, most notably when Carwyn Jones knocked on with the line at his mercy.
Even so the visitors regained the lead before the half-hour mark when captain Tom Brown touched down after the pack had shunted their opposite numbers back from close range.
As Ealing Trailfinders increased their dominance, scrum-half Tom Parker showed a great turn of pace to turn defence into attack and with the visitors settled into the home half Karl Gibson showed nimble feet to dance over after the pack had driven their opposite numbers back.
After halftime Ealing Trailfinders went straight back on the attack and both sides played with pace and intensity.
Brown and Steve Pape epitomised the effort being put in by all the players with some powerful carries into the Loughborough defence and the hosts were forced into kicking deep that the back three of James Love, James Copsey and former Students stalwart Chris Kinloch were happy to run back.
It took some time for either team to add to the scoreline, but when it did it came through Ealing Trailfinders with the familiar route of a lineout win and Arthur Ellis driving over.
Steve Pape scored and identical try three minutes later, while Wheatcroft knocked both over to add the final gloss to a memorable season for the side from Vallis Way.
Tries (Rogerson 17), Penalties (James 15)
Tries (Wardingley 6, Brown 27, Gibson 34, Ellis 72, Pape 75), Conversions (Love 35, Wheatcroft 73, 76)
Will Edwards, Sam Pointon, Rhys Owen, Jack Wardle, Jonny Short, Jack Pons, Tom James; Will Roberts, Jacob Fields, Harry Elrington, Jake Albon, Ed Taylor, James Freeman (captain), Ben Pons, Matthew Rogerson,
Pip Dickinson, George Davis, Gabriel Carroll, Josh Sharp, Jack Bradford.
James Love, Chris Kinloch, Sam Wardingley, Tom Wheatcroft, Luke Daniels, Matt Jarvis, Tom Parker; Tom Smallbone, Karl Gibson, Alex Penny, Carwyn Jones, Mike Walker-Fitton, Anders Nilsson, Alex Bradley, Tom Brown (captain)
Kevin Davis, Steve Neville, Steve Pape, Arthur Ellis, James Copsey