Ealing Trailfinders – 06/02/2016

17Ealing Trailfinders

17Doncaster Knights

3:00 pm · February 6, 2016

Ealing 17-17 Knights

The Knights headed to Vallis Way for the first time in the Club’s history hoping to build on last weekend’s derby win over Rotherham against an Ealing side who had run the Knights very close in the reverse at Castle Park. What they found was a Trailfinders side who produced a performance above what you might expect by their lowly league standing and were very good value for a share of the spoils.

In very windy conditions the Knights made a sluggish start as the hosts enjoyed the better of territory and possession. The Trailfinders runners got good, early front foot ball and only resolute defence prevented a handful of home scores. The lineout, which has earned so many plaudits throughout the season, struggled as the Knights found it hard to get out of their own half.

The game’s first try came before the ten minute mark. A messy scrum saw the Knights lose possession just outside their own 22m and the hosts quickly transitioned from defence to attack spinning the ball from touchline to touchline. Possession made its way to winger Phil Chesters who found himself with plenty of space to race over in the corner, Ben Ward’s conversion got lost in the wind – 5-0.

The majority of the opening half belonged to the Trailfinders, with the wind at their back and a well-executed set piece they kept the Knights pinned in to their own half and dominated possession. Despite this the Knights did not concede any further points before the interval, time and again the defence was able to force errors, penalties and turnovers to keep them in the game.

As the clock ticked towards forty the Knights began to up their game. The line out started to function and following a scrum penalty Simon Humberstone elected to put the side in the corner, the Trailfinders indiscipline at the set piece struck again at the line out and Michael Heaney spotted a gap to take a quick tap penalty. The scrum half darted forward deep into the home 22m before feeding Ollie Stedman, at full tilt the number eight crashed over for his fourth try in two games and Humberstone converted to put the Knights in the lead.

The score seemed to spur the Knights on and they went almost immediately on the attack after the restart. Another lineout opportunity in the corner gave the forwards a platform to set up another driving maul and after an initial barrage of defensive effort from the hosts the pack were able to get moving forward. A pile of bodies crashed over the line with Ben Hunter emerging with the ball for the score, Humberstone’s effort dropped wide but the Knights went into the interval leading 5-12 despite playing into the wind and being on the back foot for much of the game.

Ealing began the second half with a flurry of attacks but after that the Knights really began to assert themselves on the game. A number of powerful carries from the Knights backrow put the side on the in good field position however no breakthrough came. Penalties went the Knights way and several driving lineout attempts were frustratingly dropped by the hosts.

Against the run of play Ealing scored next on their first attack for some time. Good carrying after a lineout on half way carried the hosts deep into the Knights 22m where the home pack looked to crash over from short range. A number of pick and go attempts were stopped just short before Rhys Crane was able to collect an offload in contact and dive over. Ward added the extras and with 60 minutes gone the game was all square.

The game continued in a similar vein to how it had all half after the score however a second score against momentum put Ealing in the lead. A break forward had the Doncaster defences scrambling backwards and a well-weighted kick ahead chip forward from centre Dan Barnes saw the ball bounce kindly for winger Rhys Crane who collected and scored. Ward could not convert but with fifteen minutes left the Knights were down by five.

Knowing they were moments away from a first defeat in almost four months, the Knights really threw everything forward and made inroads through Mat Clark and Stedman. Frantic defending from the hosts saw them give up a number of penalties and from close range the Knights took a tap and set up an infield maul. With forwards and backs combining to push the drive forward they eventually got over the line and Richard List claimed the score. Humberstone was unable to convert so with only a couple of minutes left to play the game was locked at 17-17.

The final minutes of the game saw the Ealing defence repel wave after wave of Knights attack and despite getting agonizingly close the Knights could not produce the winning score. A drop goal attempt from Humberstone was charged down and eventually referee Andrew Small ended the game with both sides getting an equal share of the points.

Match Statistics

Ealing XV: 15 Alex Davies 14 Rhys Crane 13 Danny Barnes 12 Toby Howley-Berridge 11 Phil Chesters 10 Ben Ward 9 Alex Walker 1 Will Davis, 2 Alun Walker, 3 Alex Penny, 4 Carwyn Jones, 5 Adam Preocanin, 6 Iain Grieve, 7 Arthur Ellis, 8 Chris York (captain)
Tries; Chesters 9’, Crane 61’, Barnes 68’

Conv; Ward 61’


Knights XV: 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Will Hurrell, 13) Andy Bulumakau 12) Mat Clark, 11) Tyson Lewis, 10) Simon Humberstone, 9) Michael Heaney, 1) Richard List, 2) Ben Hunter, 3) Colin Quigley, 4) Matt Challinor ©, 5) Jon Phelan, 6) Latu Makaafi, 7) Alex Shaw, 8) Ollie Stedman

Tries; Stedman 36’, Hunter 40’, List 74’

Conv; Humberstone 36’


Our Partners