As one Fat Lady shuffled off the stage this week, another may be
waiting in the wings.
After the death of famous foodie and TV presenter Clarissa
Dickson Wright - half of the Two Fat Ladies combo - Ealing
Trailfinders will hope to keep the large singing female at bay by
completing the double over Jersey, their old rivals from National
After a valiant but ultimately unsuccessful tussle with Bedford
last weekend, and Jersey's win at Plymouth, Ealing are a dozen
points adrift at the bottom of the Championship table, and if
Jersey win and widen the gap, even the most optimistic home
supporter may have to face up to a return to National One.
The Trailfinders opened their account in the Championship on the
last day of November, after nine straight losses, and the game
marked the final act of Ben Harvey's tenure as Jersey boss. Since
then, Ealing have battled gamely, with another away win at
Nottingham and a draw at Cornish Pirates. But they need a result at
home, and they need it this Friday.
After a tough first season at level two in 2012/13 following
promotion, Jersey know full well how tough it is at the higher
level. But they should also be aware that Ealing will be fighting
tooth-and-nail to defy the odds, and departing Director of Rugby
Mike Cudmore (he announced in mid-season that he's stepping down in
April) and his players would like nothing more than another Jersey
scalp. The visitors will need to match this hunger in order to
prevent this happening.
Jersey supporters were disappointed when it was confirmed the
match would be a Friday night affair, kicking off at 7.45pm. This
ruled out the prospect of a day-return trip, but it seems there
will be a sizeable contingent heading over anyway to cheer on their
News from the Jersey camp
The Islanders could be without lock Dave Markham, who limped from
the field at Plymouth, but could have Nick Campbell ready to return
in his stead, and scrum-half Nicky Griffiths back in contention.
The Jersey squad will be published on Friday at around
Ealing 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, entering 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 Saracens Academy
and played for Queensland 'A' during a five-year sojourn Down
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
Thomas 'TJ' Anderson 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, 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, wing Billy Robinson arrived from Moseley,
Tom Bedford from Bedford Blues and flanker Sam Hocking from
For Ealing's results to date this season, why not check out their
well-appointed website HERE
A final one to watch is full-back Andrew Henderson. 'Hendo' 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.
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
Hendo started his career at Newbury and then played for Rotherham
before his move to the Channel Islands. 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.
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. It
* 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. Donovan Sanders (two tries) and Mike Le Booj (two
kicks) supplied Jersey's 15 points.
* In September 2011, 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 and one by
Phil Chesters underpinned a 15-26 win, with Jersey's tries from
Steve O'Brien and replacements Ashley Maggs and Brendan O'Brien.
Match report HERE
* On the first Saturday of 2012 in West London, Rory Damant's
try helped the hosts to a 13-10 interval lead, Jersey having
registered a penalty try and two Ross Broadfoot kicks. Dave
McCormack grabbed an interception on the resumption, Guy Thompson
added a second and Jersey finished 16-24 winners. Match report HERE
And in November last year Ealing registered their first win in the
Championship at Jersey's expense. That man Chesters scored again,
twice, there was a try for Tom Bedford and with the final play
Chesters fed Jersey old boy Hendo for a run to the line, changing
the margin of victory on match points from 1-4 to 0-5. Second rows
Alex Rae and Nick Campbell scored for Jersey. Final score 18-28.
Match report HERE
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 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.
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
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
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
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
Don't forget that you can keep up-to-speed with news from Ealing v
Jersey through the following channels:
• Live Commentary on BBC Radio Jersey on Friday evening from
7pm, and live commentary on Saturday afternoon (available online
and on your transistor-wireless device).
• Preview in Friday's JEP, and match report - hold the back page -
in Saturday's paper, available from 7am
• Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling Maul' rugby
• Reports and match action on Channel TV online and on Monday
evening at 6.15pm; and on BBC Channel Islands on Monday evening at
The Greene King IPA Championship this
They'll be going at it hammer-and-tongs at Headingley on Sunday,
with play-off hopefuls Leeds and Bristol going head-to-head. Leeds
have home advantage, Bristol the knowledge that a win could put
them out of reach of the Yorkshiremen.
Rotherham and London Welsh will look to make up ground on whoever
loses at Headingley by winning at home to Plymouth and Bedford
respectively. London Scottish will be hoping one or both slip up,
and to capitalise with a win at Moseley - anything else could
signal the end of the Exiles' play-off chances.
In the final game, the Pirates host Nottingham at the Mennaye
Field on Sunday.
Saturday March 22
Moseley v London Scottish 15:00
Rotherham Titans v Plymouth Albion15:00
Sunday March 23
Cornish Pirates v Nottingham Rugby 15:00
Leeds Carnegie v Bristol Rugby 15:00
London Welsh v Bedford Blues 14:30?
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
St Peter at 12noon. The other scheduled games involving Jersey
sides are: a friendly between Panthers and Wanderers on Saturday at
St Peter (KO also 12noon); Jersey II v Beeches on Sunday at St
Peter (12.30); Banks v LQ Lydian Lions on Sunday at Grainville
(1pm) and finally, after a good win at Lewes last weekend, the
Banks Ladies travel to Newbury on Sunday.
Enjoy your weekend's rugby!
Why not get yourself a Hot Pot (Curry or Chilli served with rice) in the supporters marquee £8 per pot.