Old Albanians RFC 19 Ealing Trailfinders RFC 28 National 2 South match report
Ealing Trailfinders full back Neil Hallett's remarkable display was one of the main differences between the two sides at Woolhams on Saturday . Hallett scored 18 points as well as receivving a 15th minute yellow card, as he helped Ealing negociate a tricky away fixture against an Old Albanians side that in recent weeks had ran both Jersey and Richmond close in their respoective games.
Ealing's Mike Cudmore was pleased with the away win, his first at Woolhams in his time at Ealing, he said to the Rugby Paper following the game, " The yellow card hurt us, after that we were always in control and should have converted more opportunities" . A true reflection on a game that with exception of the first 20 minutes Ealing controlled, and showed an intensity in their play that will please the coaches.
OA's started the game brightly, looking to play with width and pace, on a dry surface that Ealing have not seen for some weeks. Home full back Richard Gregg opened the scoring for the home side with 3rd minute minute penalty. With OA's stretching the Ealing defence, Ealing's Hallett was forced to make a decision to stop a sure try , and his deliberate knock on was punished by referee Simon Harding on 15 minutes when he dispatched Hallett to the sin bin . OA's Gregg knocked over the resultant penalty to take OA out to 6-0.
Playing with the extra man, OA's began to move Ealing around the pitch, and on 19 minutes centre Johannes Lombaard made the most finding a gap to cross the Ealing line. Gregg converted and OA's were 13-0 ahead.
With the numbers no equal Ealing began to stamp their own authority on proceedings, as through a superb kicking game by Ben Ward, they took control of territory, and began to control the ball at the breakdown. On 29 minutes, Ward's chip over the Albanians defence found wing Phil Chesters who strolled over for his 42nd league try of an amazing season for the recent addition to the England 7's training squad player. Hallett was wide of the mark with the conversion, but Ealing were playing with added conviction after the sluggish first 20 minutes for the West London side.
Going into half time 13-5 behind, Neil Hallett felt that the score line was maybe a little harsh on his team. he said " I don't think the score line did us any justice. We played some great attacking rugby in both halves & deserved more. The game was a credit to both teams who wanted & tried to play entertaining, attacking rugby, something we've been starved of recently. "
Ealing started the second half with an added momentum , and on 44 minutes, from a Ealing scrum on the Old Albanians 22m line, which was becoming increasingly dominant , fly half Ben Ward opened the home defence up and slipped through for a try under the posts which was converted by Neil Hallett. The home side began to make errors as Ealing upped the pace of the game, and they were unable to impose themselves on an increasingly dominant Ealing side. Gregg increased the homes sides advantage on 56 minutes, taking the lead to 16-12.
From the restart OA's were penalised for not rolling away and Neil Hallett stepped up with the first of two huge penalties on 58 minutes, he followed this up 7 minutes later as Ealing pulled into a 16-18 lead. Gregg's forth penalty of the day took the lead back for the home side briefly.
After the penalty, Mike Cudmore made some changes bringing fresh legs on. Karl Gibson replacing Blair Morris, and Sonny Kuwana came on for Lewis Brown.
Ealing's aggressive defence was leading to more errors from the home side, and the intensity they played with in the final quarter saw Ealing begin to pull away. Neil Hallett was the recipient of some slick play when following a turnover, Lee Starling moved the ball to Pete Hodgkinson who finding a gap managed to find Hallett who crossed over the OA's ;line for a converted try. Hallett extended Ealing's lead on 79 minutes with a penalty and took away rom OA's the loosing bonus point.
Neil Hallett said after the game " Having left the boys in the lurch a little it was pleasing to score a few points to help the team secure the vital win.
Hopefully we can use the momentum gained from OA's & get back to the high paced rugby that we love to play. The boys should be proud of our achievements in recent weeks, especially defensively. The last two weeks have been very tough, physical games & the effort & commitment has been of a very high standard."
Ealing return to Vallis Way this weekend to face Hinckley RFC . Kick off is 3pm and all details can be found on the club website www.ealingrugby.com
Looking to this weekend's game, Mike Cudmore added, " For us to achieve our goal this season we need to deliver consistent performances every time we play. We set some high standards last week for 60mins and will be looking for this and more when we play Hinckley at home this week" .
15 - Neil Hallett, 14 - Owen Bruynseels , 13 - Pete Hodgkinson , 12 - Joe Price, 11 - Phil Chesters, 10 - Ben Ward (C) , 9 - Morgan Thompson
8 - Anders Nilsson, 7 - Lee Starling, 6 - Blair Morris , 5 - Matt Evans , 4 - Ryan Gregory , 3 - Steve Neville, 2 - Jon Moyce , 1 - Lewis Brown , 16 - Karl Gibson , 17 - Sungo Kuwana, 18 - Jack Fishwick, 19 - Jay King 20 - Ronald McLean-Dents
09 March 2011