Ealing Trailfinders 10/9/22

29Ealing Trailfinders

10Doncaster Knights

3:00 pm · September 10, 2022

Small Errors Hamper Good Knights Performance

Despite the final scoreline of 29-10 to the hosts, Ealing Trailfinders, it was a strong performance in a number of areas from Doncaster Knights this afternoon in London.

The Knights were very much in the fight for almost the entirety of the encounter – the first half especially – before Ealing were able to pull away and small errors hampered any kind of attempt at a comeback from the Doncaster men.

Ealing didn’t have it easy as big ball carriers like Simon Uzokwe were brought down – noteworthily on one occasion with an impressive tackle from debutant Jared Cardew on the halfway.

They also had key decision maker Craig Hampson rattled as each chip-kick his way was charged down by a Donny man and the half-back had to continually brace for impact upon collecting the high ball.

Our hosts lost a man early on as loosehead prop Kyle Whyte looked to have been momentarily knocked unconscious and was led off the field for a HIA, to no return.

Ealing broke through just shy of 20 minutes played. The hosts went over in a pile of bodies – their own and those of the Donny defenders – to be awarded a try to Craig Willis, though he was unable to convert his own score.

The Knights were in for one of their own 10 minutes later. Doncaster used the advantage from Ben Murphy’s arm being grabbed at the lineout to whip the ball out to their backs. Harry Davey handed off to George Simpson who spotted a line to run, storming through a gap to head over the whitewash underneath the posts.

With Sam Olver’s conversion successful, the Knights were 2 points up on the board.

As the half came to an end, try-scorer Simpson was sent from the field with a yellow card for rolling away that seemed rather harsh to the travelling Doncaster contingent of fans who made their voices heard. Despite the man advantage, Willis opted for the posts rather than the quick tap and sent the home side into the changing rooms leading by a single point, 8-7.

Not 10 minutes into the second half Ealing scored their second try. Breaking through the line with Jonah Holmes, the Welshman dodged the first two tackle attempts before the third tripped him. However, Ealing played it quickly across field and a chance chip-kick found Rayn Smid over the line to score.

Conversion successful from Willis, the side moved to a 15-7 lead.

With 55 minutes played, the Trailfinders were over the line again. Knights defended the driving maul well but in the phases Ealing were able to get around the corner on the defensive line and Matcalf took the ball to run in underneath the posts. This was followed by another successful conversion from Willis to widen the gap.

A successful penalty from Olver on the hour mark for Ealing not having rolled away at the breakdown made the potential comeback 3 points easier. And the Knights did look to come back – having a number of good positions to build from throughout the final 20 minutes – but the infringements were too regular for them to build any kind of momentum to grab the front-foot on their opposition.

There were glimpses of promise – a storming carry into contact from Fraser Strachan and a dogged attempted turnover producing a penalty from Sam Daly – but the ref’s whistle always seemed to thwart the promise.

With a minute left on the clock, Ealing were camped in the Knights 22 following repeated lineouts. A quick tap gave replacement Carlo Tizzano the opportunity to batter through the middle of the line to score. Willis’ successful conversion brought the final whistle and sealed an Ealing win.

The Knights will not hang their heads from this encounter as they fronted up to the challenge and showed real promising performances for large sections of the match. It will be a case of analyse and rebuild before travelling to Hartpury for Round 2 next weekend.

Match Statistics

Ealing Trailfinders XV | 15 Jonah Holmes; 14 Jack Metcalf, 13 Max Bodilly, 12 Reuben Bird-Tulloch, 11 James Cordy-Reddon; 10 Craig Willis, 9 Craig Hampson; 1 Kyle Whyte, 2 Jan-Henning Campher, 3 Lewis Thiede, 4 Bobby De Wee, 5 Barney Maddison, 6 Rob Farrar, 7 Simon Uzokwe, 8 Rayn Smid.

Replacements | 16 Shaun Malton, 17 Will Davis, 18 George Davis, 19 David O’Connor, 20 Will Montgomery, 21 Jack Grant, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Carlo Tizzano.

Tries: Willis, Smid, Metcalf, Tizzano.

Cons: Willis 3.

Pens: Willis


Knights XV | 15 Harry Davey; 14 George Simpson, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Edgson, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 John Kelly, 5 Ben Murphy, 6 Sam Hudson, 7 Jared Cardew, 8 Thom Smith.

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 James Wayland, 18 Mak Wilson, 19 Ehize Ehizode, 20 Sam Daly, 21 Joe Green, 22 Robbie Smith, 23 Fraser Strachan.

Tries: Simpson.

Cons: Olver.

Pens: Olver.

Yellow card: George Simpson.

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