Ealing Trailfinders continued their recent dominance over Jersey Reds after a 13 try, 90-point thriller at Vallis Way.
Ealing led the head to head 9-1 since both sides reached the second tier of English rugby, and 11-5 overall, but a big game was expected after Jersey had downed big spending Coventry on the opening day. Ealing going down comprehensively at Cornish Pirates meant that they were fired up from the off on their 4G surface in West London, looking to get their league season back on track.
Jersey’s tails were up against the side who had finished 3rd, 2nd and 2nd in the last three seasons from kick off, winning the first penalty, but in conceding a scrum penalty straight away to a monstrously strong Ealing pack, the die was cast for the rest of the first half.
The Reds seemingly defended well for the opening few minutes, but the pressure caused them to concede several penalties, and from a resulting lineout, the first attacking rolling maul saw Jersey old boy, Dave McKern profit with the games opening try. Steven Shingler sent the conversion over and the hosts led 7-0. Ealing maintained the pressure throughout the first ten minutes and despite good Reds’ defence, a penalty was conceded which Shingler turned into 3 more points. A second penalty was kicked after 20 mins, but the 13-0 lead did not flatter the hosts, and in truth Jersey were hanging on.
The hosts dominance was further underlined as a stretched Jersey defence had no option but to try and slow down the Ealing tide. The resultant penalty went to the corner, and the only difference was the name of the try scorer as Alun Walker was dragged over by the Trailfinders’ maul for the first of his brace.
Defending the Ealing lineout became a theme of the first half, and with 10 minutes to half time, Jersey finally disrupted the maul enough to force Ealing to run, which they did with devastating effect. James Cordy Redden bursting through after slick hands had torn the Red defence apart. Cordy Redden claimed his second try and the bonus point try almost immediately, as from the kick off, fast hands, hard running and clever play left the Jersey defence in tatters. By now, a 30-0 led looked insurmountable, even before halftime, and another missed conversion by Shingler was of no consolation.
A ‘shell-shocked’ Jersey did their best to respond, and as the half drew to a close they went close, moving the ball well, the bright clear conditions, suited to fast running rugby. Ealing as in attack, were excellent in defence and drove the Reds back several times, winning a penalty in defence and another in attack. Shingler twisting the knife with a further 3.
Jersey 33-0 down at half time is not a score-line that is seen often, if ever, but it was no less than the excellent hosts deserved having bullied the visitors. At this stage the players looked down and out and had been utterly outclassed in every department.
No sooner than the second half started, then Jersey were over for their first points of the game. An incisive break from Leroy Van Dam, beating several Ealing players, offloaded to lock Kyle Hatherell to score. Greg Dyer added the extras and finally jersey had a foothold in the game.
Ealing, immediately struck back, driving hard into the Jersey midfield, but as they were going over the try line, desperate Reds defending held them up. This was a momentary victory however, as the Ealing pack from the resultant scrum, went through the phases before prop Will Davis found a clear line to run in under the posts. Shinglers kick brought up the 40 point mark, still with half hour remaining.
The game was now really opening up, and Jerseys pace in the backline was beginning to cause the hosts’ defence problems. Some excellent movement led to another fast break from Will Homer, offloading for Van Dam to score. Dyer unable to convert this time.
The game was beginning to resemble a basketball game, as back Ealing came. More quick hands forcing the penalty from Jersey, a kick to the corner and the inevitable, catch and drive saw Walker over again. Jersey having real problems defending on the artificial surface, sliding backwards, unable to get a foothold (literally).
45-12, and the Reds were in danger of a very heavy defeat, but they refused to let their heads drop and grew stronger and stronger as the game progressed. Loose ball in the midfield fell to Auguy Slowik who burst down the line, feeding Van Dam to register his second and Jerseys’ third try. Still with a mountain to climb, Jersey sniffed a try bonus point consolation, which came moments later in almost identical circumstance, this time Slowik the beneficiary dotting down under the sticks after good work from Van Dam, Dyer adding the extras.
The tide had seemingly turned, and even an Ealing penalty went wide as Jersey took control of the match, bypassing the dominant forward play of the home side. Unfortunately Ealing managed to break the gain-line once more, allowing Andrew Durutalo to score their 7th try and bring up a half-century of points.
Jersey were not done and were determined to finish on a high, a delicate grubber kick was seized upon by Homer to score, followed almost immediately by a Jersey maul, finally getting the better of the Ealing forwards, allowing Jack MacFarlane a chance to score Jerseys 6th try of a quite incredible breathless match.
In fact, such was Jerseys resurgence in the second half, (which was won 38-19), Auguy Slowik after the game stated the Reds were disappointed not to get within 7 points, and claim a second bonus pont, which showed how well Jersey had played in that second period, after such a catastrophic first half.
Ealing now travel to Bedford next weekend to face a side they have already put to the sword this season, Jersey host Doncaster Knights, looking to avenge the earlier Championship Cup defeat on Friday night, under the lights at the Stade Santander International.
15 Tommy Bell, 14 James Cordy Redden, 13 David Johnston, 12 Harry Sloan, 11 Reon Joseph, 10 Steven Shingler, 9 Craig Hampson, 1 Jordan Els, 2 Alun Walker, 3 Elliot Millar Mills, 4 Dave McKern 5 Harry Casson, 6 Kieran Murphy, 7 Jordy Reid 8 Rayn Smid (©)
16 Matt Cornish 17 Will Davis 18 George Davis 19 Ben West 20 Andrew Durutalo 21 Jordan Burns 22 Craig Willis 23 Pat Howard
Tries: Dave McKern (7) Alun Walker 2 (24, 52) James Cordy Redden 2 (30, 34) Will Davis (44) Andrew Durutalo (75)
Conversions: Steven Shingler 4 (6, 30, 45, 75)
Penalties: Steven Shingler 3 (13, 19, 40)
15 Auguy Slowik 14 Jack Stapley 13 George Spencer 12 Mark Best 11 Leroy Van Dam 10 Greg Dyer 9 Will Homer 1 Roy Godfrey 2 Nic Dolly 3 Alec Clarey 4 Kyle Hatherell 5 Rory Battle 6 Conor Joyce 7 Max Argyle 8 Josh Bainbridge (©)
16 Jack MacFarlane 17 Harry Morley 18 Zei Alexis 19 Charlie Beckett 20 Jake Upfield 21 Luc Jones 22 Brendan Cope 23 James Newey
Tries: Kyle Hatherell (41) Leroy Van Dam 2 (49, 54) Auguy Slowik (58), Will Homer (76), Jack MacFarlane (79)
Conversions: Greg Dyer 4 (42, 55, 59, 79)
Referee: Sara Cox
Assistant Referees: Richard Haughton & Gareth Holsgrove
Half Time: Ealing Trailfinders 33-0 Jersey Reds
Full Time Ealing Trailfinders 52-38 Jersey Reds
Pic Courtesy Ealing Trailfinders