Jan 16 2013 By Karun Jung
Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club (ETRFC) fought back valiantly from 15-0 down to beat Tynedale 25-22 in a pulsating clash at Tynedale Park
ETRFC picked up the all-important bonus point and maintained their lead at the top of National League One, despite a disappointing first quarter.
Despite ETRFC’s slender advantage in a fractious opening, it was a superb solo try from Tynedale winger Andrew Moralee that was first to trouble the scoreboard. A successful conversion, followed a few minutes later by a home penalty ensured that Tynedale raced to a 10-0 lead early on.
Both sides looked comfortable, with the respective defensive lines overcoming any threat. That was until a moment of spontaneity from the home side led to Moralee’s second try of the game as a quick-tap and go had the visitors chasing Tynedale shadows. With the home side 15-0 up with four minutes of the first half remaining, the league leaders hit back in ruthless fashion.
An exquisite break and off-load down a narrow blind-side by Thomas Wheatcroft to Phil Chesters enabled the winger to race 60 meters to score in the left hand corner. Then just seconds later, a wayward Tynedale lineout saw the ball recycled hastily to Chesters who coasted round his opposite winger before deftly chipping the full-back to gather and score. The 15-10 score-line was somewhat flattering for ETRFC, giving the loyal supporters who had made the long journey up north a reason for optimism.
A misplaced clearance by the home side resulted in an almost immediate leveller just after the break, as Peter Hodgkinson was stopped in his tracks by the Tynedale line. Nonetheless, the ensuing ruck ball was swiftly passed through to Sam Shires, who off-loaded to Wheatcroft to dot down. The centre was unable to add the extras, leaving the score at 15-15.
ETRFC were playing with a well-organized confidence as they bombarded the Tynedale defensive line. The ETRFC forwards rumbled on with a succession of yard-gaining ball carriers before replacement flanker Lee Starling broke through to score. Wheatcroft’s conversion took ETRFC into the lead for the first time in the game.
Tynedale struck back once more as another quick-tap forced the visitors on the back-foot, allowing flanker Sam Reynolds to score. Stedman’s conversion brought the scores level with a quarter of the game to play.
With the score locked at 22 apiece, ETRFC poked their noses back in front as Wheatcroft converted a simple penalty. The ETRFC defensive line were mauled in the closing stages but held out for another crucial away win.