REPORT: Wharfedale 8 – 21 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders fought back from trailing at half-time for their fourth win of the season, but despite scoring 21 unanswered points in the second half they were unable to score a fourth try for the four-try bonus point.
After the initial early exchanges it was the home team that took an iron grip on proceedings in the first half.
With the wind behind them and the slope in their favour Wharfedale enjoyed the bulk of possession and territory, but went in at halftime only 8-0 ahead.
They made the first breakthrough on 12 minutes when fullback Taylor Prell ran a strong line from a move off a scrum to break through the Ealing Trailfinders line and score.
The Wharfedale pack were in fiery mood and continued to dominate the set-piece. From another scrum centre Tom Davidson appeared to have stretched their lead further, but the hosts were pulled back and try disallowed after Carwyn Jones was tackled off the ball in the lead up to the try.
Oliver Cicognini came close to adding another try as he chased Will Bell’s grubber kick into the in-goal area, but Alex Walker got back to clear the danger. Kevin Davis and Arthur Ellis were then sent to the sin bin, but despite their numerical inferiority the Ealing Trailfinders defence held out.
Davidson added a penalty five minutes before the break, but before the teams went in it was Ealing Trailfinders who ended the half on the attack.
The visitors continued in that vein from the restart and soon after Sean O’Connell went close after Michael Walker-Fitton had pinched a Wharfedale lineout. The team maintained their pressure and James Love opened their account with a penalty.
The fullback then scored Ealing Trailfinders’ first try of the match and his first in a competitive fixture when he raced away down the left wing.
Wharfedale hit back, but when they appeared set to attack the Ealing Trailfinders line O’Connell stole their lineout, which gave the backs the chance to clear the danger.
On the hour mark Wharfedale captain James Doherty was sent off and minutes later Ealing Trailfinders made their numerical superiority count when they took the lead for the first time in the match when Love slotted his second penalty.
Phil Chesters then had a try denied by a deliberate knock-on by his opposite number Scott Jordan, but the penalty was kicked to touch and Arthur Ellis was driven over for his fourth try of the season.
With five minutes to go Welsh international Will Harries marked his debut with a try when he popped up on Ronnie McLean’s shoulder to race home.
James Love, Will Harries, Ronnie McLean, Andy Reay, Phil Chesters, Ben Ward, Alex Walker; Will Davis, Kevin Davis, Alex Penny, Carwyn Jones, Michael Walker-Fitton, Sean O’Connell, Arthur Ellis, Danny Kenny (captain)
Karl Gibson, Ignas Darkintis, Steve Pape, Anders Nilsson, Matt Jarvis
Tries (Love 48, Ellis 63, Harries 75), Penalties (Love 43, 63)
Taylor Prell, Scott Jordan, Matt Van Sertima, Tom Davidson, Oliver Cicognini, Will Bell, James Doherty (captain); Matt Beesley, Dan Stockdale, Jake Armstrong, Simon Willet, Richard Rhodes, Josh Burridge, Chris Howick, Rob Baldwin
Adam Howard, Joe Altham, Ian Larkin, Jim Mason, Josh Prell
Tries (T.Prell 12), Penalties (Davidson 35)