Oct 11 2012 By Karun Jung
Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club were made to work hard at Vallis Way, extending their lead at the top of the league with a 36-31 victory over Fylde.
ETRFC have been guilty of starting matches slowly but there were no signs of that with the visit of Fylde as a sweeping move early on allowed Owen Bruynseels to score.
The lead didn’t last long as on the 10th minute, Fylde capitalized on poor defending from the home side to score their first try of the day.
Despite this, ETRFC were proving dangerous and their attacking intent paid off as Fylde gave away a cynical penalty at the breakdown, which Tom Wheatcroft comfortably converted to restore ETRFC’s lead.
The penalty certainly kicked ETRFC into second gear as the green shirts began to dominate proceedings. Peter Hodgkinson, who was returning from an ankle injury, was causing the Fylde defence a number of problems and soon found himself beating the last defender to increase the home side’s lead. Wheatcroft made no mistake with the extras to push the lead out to 15-7.
ETRFC were continuing to bombard Fylde’s line and only a string of handling errors and penalties were preventing the home side from scoring a handful of tries. ETRFC did manage to convert their continued pressure into points as a poor clearance fell into the grateful hands of Phil Chesters, who sprinted into the acres of open space in front of him, before off-loading to Owen Bruynseels, who crossed for his second try of the day. Wheatcroft’s well-struck touchline conversion gave ETRFC a well-deserved 22-7 lead.
The visitors did manage to close the deficit to 22-10 before the break as they made the most of a penalty handed to them before the interval.
ETRFC came out firing in the second half but were hit on the break as the visitors closed the gap back up to 22-17. Despite being camped in the Fylde half, it was the guests who made their offensive presence count again as another try gave them a surprising 22-24 lead with a 20 minutes remaining.
The ETRFC fans were not made to sweat for long as a rapid response from the home side saw Richard Townsend and replacement prop Lewis Brown run home tries soon after the home side found themselves behind. Wheatcroft made no mistake with the extras to restore the ETRFC lead to 36-24.
Fylde did hit back with a try with 5 minutes remaining but ETRFC held out to maintain their unbeaten start to the season and extend their lead at the top of the league to five points.