Ealing Trailfinders 25 Jersey 23
Greene King IPA Championship
by Tom Innes
(Reproduced by kind permission of the JEP)
Jersey may yet outlast Ealing Trailfinders in the battle to
avoid relegation, but the West London side were able to claim a
notable double over their Channel Islands rivals last night.
A narrow victory in a pulsating but error-strewn encounter
represented Ealing’s first points on home soil this season, and
reduced the margin between 11th and 12th in the table to nine
points. Jersey’s attempts to seal the survival deal will have to
wait; hopefully no longer than the home match with Moseley next
The Reds could hardly have got off to a better start, working
the ball wide to Grant Pointer, who made good ground and fed Drew
Locke. The pass inside to his fellow centre Mark McCrea didn’t go
to hand, but the Irishman hacked on, chased, gathered the bouncing
ball and crashed over. Aaron Penberthy added five points with the
conversion and a fine penalty from more than 40 metres.
The home side soon managed to force their way into the game with
a penalty kicked to the corner, followed by an attacking lineout.
Jersey expected a rolling maul, but instead Alex Bradley nipped up
the blindside and touched down.
Undaunted, Jersey attacked and again the centre partners linked
up for a try: Locke chipped forward and McCrea raced to touch down
the bouncing ball. Not only that, but Penberthy added the
conversion and Ealing speedster Phil Chesters was yellow-carded for
a professional foul.
Jersey’s 5-17 lead looked good, but masked some problems: the
first three lineouts by the visitors were all lost, and the penalty
count was also mounting against the men in red. To begin with
Ealing only had a Ben Ward penalty to show for it, but then they
seized the moment in a crucial passage of play just before
Firstly a penalty try was awarded to Ealing after a prodigious
scrum drive, and Jersey’s Ryan Hodson was yellow-carded for trying
to prevent the score (which made it 15-17). Then Jersey tight-head
Dave Young went off injured and within two minutes his replacement
Nick Selway was himself banished to the bin for another
The visitors at least had the satisfaction of the final score of
the half, courtesy of Penberthy’s boot, but knew they’d be in for a
tough start to the second period. That’s exactly what happened,
with some sustained Ealing pressure sucking in the cover defence,
and then the ball spun wide for a straightforward finish for
Chesters. Ward’s kick put his team in the lead for the first time
before the clock had hit two minutes.
Penberthy’s fine game with the boot continued when he restored
Jersey’s lead with another penalty, but Ward responded in kind just
before the hour mark, and both sides entered the final quarter
knowing the game was up for grabs.
Jersey’s lineout weakness may have been eliminated in the second
period, but they remained prone to the shrill blast of the
referee’s whistle, and the 2 to 1 penalty count remained to the end
of the game. This allowed Ealing to eventually close out the
Jersey’s commitment was not to be questioned, with some fine
play by both forwards and backs, with the centres playing well, and
both James Voss and Latu Maka’afi especially prominent. but once
they were on the referee’s wrong side they seemed unable to remedy
the situation, and this was at the heart of the narrow defeat.
Forwards: Sean McCarthy, Elvis Taione, Dave
Young, Nick Campbell, James Voss, Alex Rae (capt), Ryan Hodson (YC
32), Latu Maka’afi.
Backs: Nicky Griffiths, Aaron Penberthy, Mark
Foster, Mark McCrea, Drew Locke, Grant Pointer, Jack Burroughs.
Replacements: Nick Selway (YC 38) for Young (36min),
Sam Lockwood for McCarthy (48), Jimmy Williams for Griffiths (49),
David Bishop for Pointer (61), Joe Buckle for Hodson (71).Not
used:Luke Stratford, Niall O’Connor.
Forwards: Ryan Storer, Andrei Radoi, Conor
Carey, Steve Pape, Gavin Curry, Adam Preocanin, Alex Bradley, Matt
Backs: Morgan Thompson, Ben Ward, Phil Chesters (YC 19),
Tom Bedford, Harry Sloan, Chris Kinloch, Andrew Henderson.
Replacements: Richard Townsend, Steve Neville, Tim
Brockett, George Merrick, TJ Anderson, Tom Parker, Billy
Referee: Matt Carley
Men-of-the-match:Adam Bradley (Ealing) and Latu
Tries: Bradley 10, Penalty Try 32, Chesters 41
Conversions: Ward 32, 41
Penalties: Ward 21, 56
Tries: McCrea 3, Maka’afi 19
Conversions: Penberthy 3, 19
Penalties: Penberthy 8, 35, 48