Jersey 18 Ealing Trailfinders 2801/12/2013
Jersey 18 Ealing Trailfinders 28
November 30th, 2013
Greene King IPA Championship
by Tom Innes
/*pictures by David Goodenough, or see full selection by Sue Trower in the Gallery selection HERE*/
Ealing stunned Jersey with an astonishing comeback to register their first Championship win at the 10th attempt.
The league's bottom-placed side trailed for the first hour of the game, but their recovery was so effective it brought a bonus-point win and left Jersey empty-handed.
Elated Director of Rugby Mike Cudmore, celebrating his second win over Jersey at St Peter in three attempts, said he knew a win was coming for his Trailfinders side.
"Credit to the boys, they've been getting better each week and anyone who's watched us knows that - and in the second half we really got it together.
"We knew there'd be a big noisy crowd here because we'd been before, but the boys thrived on the atmosphere and were able to silence the crowd."
Jersey started strongly and tries by second row pair Alex Rae and Nick Campbell (pictured below) established a 12-0 lead within the first quarter. The next score looked crucial, and it was Ealing who claimed it, with turnover ball spun wide and Tom Bedford crossing. Jersey recovered their composure partially and Niall O'Connor was able to extend his side's lead to 15-7 at the break.
O'Connor added another three points midway through the second half, but this was just a prelude for the Phil Chesters' show. Ealing's winger may have failed to recreate his National League try-scoring exploits in the Championship thus far, but he showed that he remained a lethal finisher.
First Chesters latched on to a Ben Ward cross kick and touched down in the corner, Ward adding an excellent conversion, and then as Jersey pressed forward, another turnover saw Ealing spin the ball wide and the flier went 60 metres down the touchline and scored under the posts.
Jersey still hoped to win the game, but lost Mark McCrea to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle and then in the final minute the Ward-Chesters double act struck again, the winger taking another cross-kick and feeding Jersey old boy Andrew Henderson for a gleeful canter to the line.
"We started really well and put Ealing under pressure, but then we let them back into it and that's disappointing - the margins are fine in this league and if you cough up possession like we did you'll be punished," said Jersey Director of Rugby Ben Harvey. "We knew Chesters was a good finisher but we didn't want him to remind us of that today."
Jersey: Locke, Copsey, McCrea, Foster, Dudley, O'Connor, Williams (Griffiths 55); McCarthy, Felton (Taione 46), Young, Campbell, Rae (capt), Makaafi (Brown 48), Buckle, Maidment. Replacements not used: Fidler, Selway, Markham, Burroughs.
Ealing: Henderson, Kinloch, Mclean-Dents,
Bedford, Chesters, Ward, Parker; Storer (Neville 53), Wilkes, Carey
(Brockett 53), Preocanin (capt), Pape (Evans 53), Siggery,
Anderson, O'Connell. Replacements not used: Townsend,
Bradley, Thompson, Wheatcroft.
Referee: Darren Gamage
Man-of-the-match, selected by Match sponsor Rowney Sharman: Phil Chesters (Ealing)
Tries: Rae 6, Campbell 18
Conversion: O'Connor 18
Penalties: O'Connor 36, 58
Tries: Bedford 23, Chesters 60, 71, Henderson 79
Conversions: Ward 23, 60, 71, 80