Yorkshire Carnegie 33-20 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders were given a taste of what they will face in the Greene King IPA Championship play-offs when Yorkshire Carnegie ran in five tries at Headingley.
Ben Ward’s side will now take on Carnegie in the play-offs after London Irish’s 22-5 defeat of Doncaster Knights ensured Ealing Trailfinders finished in third place.
Vallis Way will host the first leg on Friday 29 April, with the return at Headingley on Friday 5 May.
Defences started on top in the first 10 minutes, though the two scrum-halves – Max Green and Luke Carter – both showed a glimpse of their quality with line breaks that their teams were unable to capitalise on.
Another break from Carnegie wing Oli Goss also brought the crowd to their feet, before Will Harries stopped him. Subsequent attempts by their pack to drive over were then thwarted, but flanker Richard Beck eventually forced his way through.
Phil Chesters sent Carnegie number 8 Brandon Staples back with a fierce hit from the restart and soon after Aaron Penberthy struck a penalty to close the gap.
Neither team were really into their stride, with error often compounding error, though Beck turned provider after charging down Luke Carter’s kick to set up James Thraves to score from close range.
Ealing Trailfinders began to build some momentum and after their pack tried its luck from the lineout without success, they turned to the scrum and promptly won a penalty try after driving Carnegie’s forwards backwards.
After half-time it was Carnegie’s pack that flexed their muscles and shunted prop Matt Beesley over for their third try.
Penberthy brought Ealing Trailfinders to within a converted try when he scored his second penalty soon after, but Carnegie hit back with a slick counter-attack that finished with Chris Elder setting Andy Forsyth free to give his team the bonus point.
Carnegie continued to hold a firm grip on the match and Mayhew displayed some lovely footwork to work his way through for his second score.
Chris York and Willie Ryan were held up as Ealing Trailfinders rallied in the latter stages, but Ryan eventually went over when he drove off the back of a scrum.
Tries (Beck 19, Thraves 33, Beesely 45, Mayhew 63, Forsyth 55), Conversions (Seals 19, 33, 55, 63)
Tries (Penalty 38, Ryan 73), Conversions (Penberthy 38, Ryan 73), Penalties (Penberthy 27, 49)
Steve McColl, Chris Elder, Andy Forsyth, Pete Lucock, Oli Goss, Warren Seals, Max Green; Matt Beesley, Mike Mayhew, James Thraves, Dean Schofield, Dan Sanderson, Richard Beck, Andy Saull, Brandon Staples
Jordon Poole, Lewis Boyce, Mike Cusack, Jack Whetton, Mike Myerscough, Sam Allan, Tom Bullough
Will Harries, Rhys Crane, Lewis Jones, Arthur Ellis, Phil Chesters, Aaron Penberthy, Luke Carter, James Gibbons, Alun Walker, Sam Rodman, Barney Maddison, Glen Townson, Chris York, Rayn Smid, Kieran Murphy
Rhys Lawrence, Will Davis, Lewis Thiede, Willie Ryan, Luke Peters, Josh Davies, Rory Clegg
Referee – Matthew O’Grady
Attendance – 1,362