Nov 5 2012 By Karun Jung
Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club failed to provide an explosive display as the club slumped to its first defeat of the season at the hands of Old Albanians RFC.
ETRFC, who had a 100% record at Vallis Way before the game, struggled to impress their support, who were braving the freezing cold conditions so they could witness more fireworks from the league leaders.
It was a scrappy opening, with both teams unable to pose a genuine threat going forward. With 25 minutes on the clock, a penalty from Ben Ward kick-started an encouraging ten-minute spell for the hosts.
With the home side 3-0 up, ETRFC worked their way to the line from the very next play, as Sam Wardingley ran the ball home through the posts. Ward converted the extras and in the space of two minutes, ETRFC were 10-0 up.
It got better for the home side as a stunning catch in the middle of the field from Ronald Mclean-Dents allowed the home side to counter attack. The attack was finished off by winger Phil Chesters, leaving the home side looking comfortable at 15-0.
The visitors did get on the board with a try of their own with five minutes of the first half remaining, yet the final play of the first half led to Rory Damant extending the ETRFC lead to 22-5 with another home try.
ETRFC could only manage putting three points on the board in the second half, courtesy of a penalty from Ronald Mclean-Dents. From clapping their players off the field at half time, the fans were left stunned in the second period as three tries from the away side in the first 20 minutes closed the gap to 25-24.
With the momentum with the away side, the ETRFC fans were beginning to fear the worse in a nail-biting finish. With the scoreboard ticking in added on time, the Old Albanians pushed for a winner and deservedly found one. The away stand erupted as the visitors inflicted a first defeat of the season (25-31) on ETRFC.
Mike Cudmore, director and general manager said: "We went in at half-time with a lead and in the second half the wind behind us. We lost some key delivers early on in the game and this had a major impact on us in the second half. We did not display anywhere near our ability in the second half and a very good Old Albanian side exploited this and came out on top. One loss does not make us a bad team and all will work hard this week to ensure we get it right when we go to Blaydon."
ETRFC now find themselves level on points with Rosslyn Park at the top of the league and face a tricky trip to third-placed Blaydon next weekend.