Preview to Ealing Trailfinders (H) 30.11.13


Hendo, the Haka and Who Dares Wins...

Learn from the past; look to the future... that's a rough translation of the Latin motto 'Respice, Prospice' which appears on the logo of Ealing Trailfinders, this weekend's visitors to St Peter.

Trailfinders _rfc _logo

Ealing will be aiming to start the future, and their 2013/14 season, on a ground where they have enjoyed a notable victory in the past. The recent past has been difficult, with nine straight league defeats and a brace of cup losses and as yet not a bonus point to show for it.

It might look forlorn, but think back to a bad start for Jersey 12 months ago, and then look at the league table: the Islanders may be 11 points clear of their opponents going into the weekend, but by narrowing that to seven Ealing could throw a cat amongst the pigeons. The game at St Peter kicks off at 2.30pm on Saturday.

The learning from the past won't just include the Londoners' 15-26 win at St Peter in October 2011, but also the harsh lessons from this season to date. And there is some encouraging evidence - for their first five competitive outings Trailfinders conceded an average of 54 points per match, but since returning from a B&I trip to Dublin in mid October the average concession has shrunk to 26. Sadly the 'points for' column remained stubbornly unchanged between one phase and the next.

Jersey will want to get another home win under their belt and in the process show that they belong in the cluster of clubs battling for at least a spot in the 'middle four' of the Championship, rather than in a relegation tussle. Both sides will be gunning for victory, and might adopt another latin phrase, 'Qui audet adipiscitur', which is the motto of the SAS, in which Ealing's benefactor Mike Gooley served.

News from the Jersey camp

Aaron Penberthy's fractured fibula from last Sunday's trip to Leeds sees him join Tom Cooper on a list of long-term injured among Jersey's backs. There are also question marks over Nicky Griffiths and Grant Pointer, both of whom missed the journey to Yorkshire.

The forwards are hopefully in better shape, although Tom Brown was absent at Headingley and fellow back-row man Fred Silcock may still not be quite ready to return for his first action since September.

Jersey were in touch for most of the game with Leeds, trailing 12-10 at the break and 15-13 approaching the hour mark, but fell away to finish 29-13 losers. The Islanders will be keener to draw on their last home match, the thrilling comeback against Cornish Pirates that was sealed with Niall O'Connor's last-kick penalty.

The Jersey squad will be published on Friday at around 12noon and you can see it HERE.

Any Previous?!

The quadrilogy of meetings between the two clubs during their National League co-habitation unfolded thus:

  • In October 2010, Jersey scored four tries (Doherty, Penalty, Trower and Hannay), with Phil Chesters (he scored a mind-blowing 70 tries that season) and Sungo Kawana responding for the visitors. Just ahead of the hosts' final try, a Jersey restart kick blew back towards half-way after it had travelled 10 metres. Unsure as to whether this was legal or not, Ealing snoozed... and eventually lost 32-18.
  • In West London in February 2011 the Islanders completed a double, winning 0-15. These games were the only ones lost by Ealing all season, and the latter their only instance of scoring 'nil points'. Donovan Sanders (two tries) and Mike Le Booj (two kicks) supplied Jersey's 15 points.


  • In September 2011, both teams having been promoted from National Two South to National One, Ealing became the first team to win in Jersey since the unlikely success by Tring two-and-a-half years previously in March 2009. Two tries by Owen Bruynseels against one by Steve O'Brien (pictured above by Sue Trower) gave the visitors a 10-5 lead at the break. Phil Chesters' try from a kick ahead on 42 minutes helped increase the lead, with a victory nailed down by the boots of Neil Hallett and Morgan Thompson, resulting in a 26-15 win (reported in full HERE) after Jersey responded through tries by replacements Ashley Maggs and Brendan O'Brien.
  • Part four (of four) was back in West London on the first Saturday of 2012. Rory Damant's try helped the hosts to a 13-10 interval lead, Jersey having registered a penalty try and two Ross Broadfoot kicks, but Dave McCormack grabbed an interception (below, again by Sue T) on the resumption, Guy Thompson added a second and Jersey finished 16-24 winners - see match report HERE

Macca Copy

Ealing Trailfinders in 2013/4

The club didn't sit still over the summer and recruited heavily on the playing side, while off the pitch Trailfinders helped bring facilities up to Championship level.

DoR Mike Cudmore, now in his 12th season at the club named Adam Preocanin as captain for the season - the lock joined early in the 2012/13, having previously been a member of the Saracems Academy and played for Queensland 'A' during a five-year sojourn Down Under.

Two new recruits were named as vice-captains: three-quarter Chris Kinloch, a former Scotland age-group and sevens player who played for Loughborough Students against Trailfinders - and Jersey - in National 1.

029-TJ-Anderson -vice -capt

Thomas 'TJ' Anderson, the other 'vice-skips' (pictured above) meanwhile crossed the Irish Sea from Connacht. He has previously played for Irish age-group sides and his home province of Ulster. His father is the legendary Willie Anderson, the former Ireland captain who was featured in the 'And Finally' section of a preview last month, and he also has a brother who is probably more famous in fashion circles than his sibling is in rugby - the fashion designer JW Anderson.

Also coming into the squad over the summer were former London Irish flanker Ed Siggery (who took on Jersey in last season's B&I while playing for Pontypridd), wing Billy Robinson arrived from Moseley, Tom Bedford from Bedford Blues and flanker Sam Hocking from Plymouth Albion.

A final one to watch is full-back Andrew Henderson. 'Hendo' (pictured below) is a player well known to Jersey fans and staff having scored nine tries in 30 appearances for the club in the 2010/11 season.

040 Andrew Henderson

He is now in his second season with Trailfinders and since the start of the club's debut season in the Greene King IPA Championship, his versatility has meant he has featured in the majority of the matches; first as wing, then in the centre and finally at full-back where his sureness under the high ball and swiftness of foot has allowed him to develop as a counter-attacking threat.

Hendo started his career at Newbury and then played for Rotherham before his move to the Channel Island. He has punished Jersey before when tackling his former club - in March 2012 the Islanders succumbed to his late try for Barking and suffered their only defeat in a run of 24 games. Barking finished bottom of National One that season, but they also upset high-flying Ealing, and yes of course Hendo was on the score-sheet that day too.

History of Ealing RFC

Ealing Football Club played its first match in 1869 on Ealing Common, prior to the founding of the RFU in 1871. The early years saw regular fixtures against the likes of Wasps, London Irish, Harlequins, Richmond and Blackheath.

Between 1894 and 1958 the club moved location numerous times and is now located at Trailfinders Sports Ground, just south of the A40 at the upper end of West Ealing. The Trailfinders Sports Club was acquired by the Mike Gooley Trailfinders Charity in 1997. Gooley (below) is a former SAS soldier who set up travel company Trailfinders in 1970 and has been a committed and generous patron of the club which took on his company's name.

Tooly FMOS_203x 150

Ealing's centenary match was played against Harlequins in 1971. The 1970s and '80s saw Ealing playing a high standard of rugby and supplying many county level players for Middlesex.

In 1987 the club finished top of London Division 1 (level five) and over the next six years was never lower than 2nd in London 1 or higher than 10th in National 4. Ealing won the Middlesex Cup three times in this period.

In 1996 Ealing were relegated from London 1, but returned to this level during the 'noughties' and were promoted back to the national leagues in 2006/07.

Immediately competitive on their return to the national stage, Ealing finished third in three successive seasons, the third of which saw them tied with Rosslyn Park on 113 points each. Park had won more games, including the contests against Ealing by 31-24 and 9-8, and therefore took the play-off spot and ultimately won promotion.

In 2010/11 Trailfinders finally achieved the goal of promotion to Level Three, winning National Two South with a strong display of front running that eventually saw them edge Jersey by four points (132-128). The Islanders' good form meant Ealing couldn't afford to lose, and they rose to the occasion with nine straight wins, including 8-3 at Dings, 130-14 over Hinckley, a minor wobble at the penultimate hurdle before despatching Henley 35-25, and finally 127-19 over Lydney in front of 1,100 spectators at Vallis Way.

With Jersey also promoted following the play-off against Loughborough, the two sides went head-to-head in National One, with Rosslyn Park also jostling for supremacy during the mid-point of the season. Jersey got their noses in front after beating Park in mid-January and were never caught, although Ealing battled gamely and eventually finished second with 112 points, seven adrift of the champions.

Last season Ealing tore it up in National One, winning the title at a canter with 128 points, 19 clear of runners-up Esher, to seal promotion to the Championship

Following the game

The home club will be looking for a huge crowd to cheer them on in this crucial fixture. But those who genuinely can't make it can keep up-to-speed with news from Jersey v Ealing through the following channels:

• Preview on BBC Radio Jersey on Friday from 5.30pm, and live commentary on Saturday afternoon (available online and on your transistor-wireless device).
• Preview in Friday's JEP, more coverage in the 'Inside Centre' pull-out in Saturday's paper (on sale from 7am) and full match coverage on Monday
• Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling Maul' rugby forum
• Match preview on Channel 103 on Saturday afternoon
• Reports and match action on Channel TV online and on Monday evening at 6.15pm; and on BBC Channel Islands on Monday evening at 6.30pm

The Greene King IPA Championship this weekend

Plymouth have the second of three consecutive Friday night home games, with Rotherham the visitors.

Last weekend at Brickfields, Bedford gained their second league win in nine attempts, and on Saturday the Blues will try and treat the unbeaten league leaders to a large portion of momentum. London Scottish will look to maintain their recently-gained top-four status by defeating Moseley at the RAG.

Advent starts on Sunday, with the fixture calendar offering a brace of excuses to avoid Christmas shopping: Nottingham against the Pirates, and Bristol - sunk by the Pirates last weekend for the second time in three months - hosting Leeds.

And finally

Jersey will also take on Ealing at second team level, with Jersey Athletic meeting Ealing's Development XV. Sadly it wasn't possible to have the games on the same island as the 1st XV games in November and March, so the Zoo Sports Shield clash takes place at Vallis Way at 1pm. Saturday's JRA action sees Beeches play LQ Lydian Lions at 12.30 at Grainville, while HMP Panthers play Banks at LQ at 2.30pm. On Sunday St Jacques host Jersey II (actually the 3rd team) in Guernsey at 11.30am

While all the teams taking part this weekend will be hoping to make a good start, they'll do well to match the effort of Doncaster Knights' Tyson Lewis against old Albanians last Saturday. This is claimed to be the fastest in rugby union history even though the kicker took more than a second after the whistle to start the game. Watch it HERE

Willie Anderson gets a season ticket in this part of the preview. The father of Ealing's back row man TJ Anderson once challenged the New Zealand haka to the point where his face was inches away from All Black captain 'Buck' Shelford - here it is again on Youtube.

Anderson _haka

Shelford and fellow NZ legend Sir Colin 'Pinetree' Meads hosted an evening at JRFC this week, and we were able to hear from the horse's mouth how impressed Shelford was with the Maori challenge being answered in this way, even tho' New Zealand's number 8 may have appeared a wee bit cross at the time.

Enjoy your weekend's rugby!

Tom Innes

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