REPORT: Richmond 16-26 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders laid down a marker of their promotion ambitions with a bonus point win away to Richmond.
The match was a clash between the top two clubs in National One and Ben Ward’s side extended their lead over their rivals from across Kew Bridge with a convincing win in which they scored four tries and kept out the league’s leading scorers until the last minute.
Richmond took the early initiative and were rewarded for their strong early start when National 1 leading scorer Rob Kirby added to his tally with a simple penalty from in front of the posts.
The fullback then came close to breaking away, but was stopped at the last by his opposite number Matt Jarvis.
Ealing Trailfinders began to work their way back into the match and while Jarvis was unable to land his first penalty attempt of the afternoon he linked up with Phil Chesters on the 20 minute mark to release the wing for his seventh try of the season, which he then converted.
Kirby closed the gap to a point with his second penalty soon after but Ealing Trailfinders continued to enjoy the majority of possession and territory with centres Sam Wardingley and Ronnie McLean making ground from which the rest of the team could attack.
Ealing Trailfinders immediately went on the attack as the second half got underway and Chesters came close to adding his second of the match, but he was bundled into touch as the Richmond defence scrambled.
Will Davis also went close after a rolling maul from a lineout, but he lost control of the ball as he went for the line and Richmond were able to clear the danger from the scrum.
Steve Pape came off the bench and immediately made an impact with a storming run and link with Arthur Ellis. After setting up camp in Richmond’s half Alun Walker marker his return to action by diving over for Ealing Trailfinders second try of the afternoon.
Richmond hit back though when Kirby slotted his, but Ealing Trailfinders responded in fine style to release former Richmond youth player Ellis raced away for his fifth of the season.
William Warden showed that the hosts weren’t finished with a powerful run to the line, but Ealing Trailfinders’ defence swarmed round him to hold him up and allow Jarvis the chance to clear.
Ealing Trailfinders secured the four try-bonus point 12 minutes from time when second row Michael Walker-Fitton picked a perfect line off an Alex Walker pass to run in for his first in Ealing Trailfinders colours.
The home side grabbed their try just before the full time whistle when prop Jeremy Cunnew crashed over for a try that former Ealing Trailfinders’ fly-half Andy Hall converted.
Rob Kirby, William Browne, James Falconer, Matt Keville, Adam Gadsby, Chris Surman, Jamie Gibbs, Jeremy Cunnew, Jason Phipps, Dan Parkinson, Will Warden, Chukwuma Osazuma, Tom Sargent, Simon Ackroyd, Chris Davies
Simon Edwards, Tim Walford, Joseph Burton, James Kyle, Andy Hall
Matt Jarvis, Chris Kinloch, Sam Wardingley, Ronnie McLean, Phil Chesters, Ben Ward, Alex Walker; Jamie Kilbane, Alun Walker, Nathan Buck, Carwyn Jones, Mike Walker-Fitton, Anders Nilsson, Arthur Ellis, Danny Kenny (captain)
Will Davis, Andrei Radoi, Steve Pape, Llewelyn Jones, Andy Reay
Tries (Cunnew 79), Conversions (Hall 79), Penalties (Kirby 7, 26, 57 )
Tries (Chesters 20, Alun Walker 53, Ellis 59, Walker-Fitton 68), Conversions (Jarvis 20, 60, 69)
Referee – Shane Lewis
Attendance - 1, 403