Yorkshire Carnegie 18-20 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders brought down the curtain on a memorable 2016-17 Greene King IPA Championship season in fine style with their first win away to Yorkshire Carnegie and their first win on a Friday night.
They left it late to win, but when it came it came in spectacular style. In the last play the team ran the ball the length of the pitch, from behind their own try-line to finish with Luke Peters powering his way over in the corner.
The move went through 26 phases, lasted four minutes, 23 seconds and covered 98m. There was a nervous wait as referee Tim Wigglesworth checked with the video referee, but when it came if allowed Ealing Trailfinders to peg back a Yorkshire Carnegie team who had scored all their points through the boot of the Leicester Tigers-bound fly-half Joe Ford.
While the winning score came in epic fashion, the result was founded on hard work, unity and another powerful showing from the pack who dominated their opposite numbers at the scrum and who won the first scrum against the head to set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Curtis Wilson put in a big hit on opposite wing Jonah Holmes to set the expected standard and then Alun Walker matched him with a strong carry into the Yorkshire defence to signal Ben Ward’s team’s intentions for the night.
Aaron Penberthy opened the scoring with a penalty after the Yorkshire pack were penalised for slowing the ball down and while the pack began to win penalties from the scrum, but despite twice kicking to the corner, Carnegie’s defence held out.
They then drew level when Ford kicked the first of his six penalties.
Ealing Trailfinders didn’t waste time to hit back though. Barney Maddison led a raid down the blindside and then off-loaded inside to Wilson, who finished the move for his second try in two weeks.
Ford landed another penalty for Yorkshire, but the half ended with Ealing Trailfinders camped on the host’s line. Three times they won a penalty from a scrum, but on the fourth the attack was snuffed out.
After half-time Yorkshire raised their intensity and Ford made it three from three early in the half. Will Harries then made a vital tackle on Holmes after he broke through and after Yorkshire flanker Ollie Steadman was sin-binned, Rayn Smid powered his way over to round off a good period of possession and territory for Ealing Trailfinders.
As the clock ticked past the hour mark Ealing Trailfinders’ fitness put them on top, but they were unable to find a way through scrambled Yorkshire defence. Ford’s fifth penalty drew them level and his sixth gave them the lead for the first time on the night.
With four minutes to go it appeared that the home side were on their way to their fifth victory in six meetings between the sides this season.
As the clock ticked into the red though, Ealing Trailfinders had one last chance and it was one they took in a fashion that will be talked about for many years to come.
Penalties (Ford 21, 32, 44, 50, 72, 76)
Tries (Wilson 24, Smid 61, Peters 80), Conversions (Penberthy 24), Penalties (Penberthy 11)
Chris Elder, Jonah Holmes, Andy Forsyth, Peter Lucock, Steve McColl, Joe Ford, Alex Davies; Lewis Boyce, Phil Nilsen, Sione Faletau, Ben West, Matt Smith, Ollie Stedman, Richard Mayhew, Ryan Burrows (captain)
Mike Mayhew, Mike Cusack, Matt Beesley, Mike Myerscough, Richard Beck, Max Green, Max Wright
Will Harries, Curtis Wilson, Luke Peters, Joe Munro, Lewis Jones, Aaron Penberthy, Luke Carter; James Gibbons, Alun Walker, Lewis Thiede, Barney Maddison, Glen Townson, Kieran Murphy, Arthur Ellis, Mark Bright (capt)
Rhys Lawrence, Will Davis, Alex Penny, Harry Casson, Rayn Smid, Chris York, Josh Davies
Referee – Tim Wigglesworth
Attendance – 2,216