Dragons Premiership XV 27-28 Ealing Trailfinders
Ealing Trailfinders ensured they topped British and Irish Cup Pool 5 after a tough contest away to the Newport-Gwent Dragons Premiership Select.
Aaron Penberthy’s penalty five minutes from time ensured Ben Ward’s team the victory after the young Dragons pushed Ealing Trailfinders hard throughout the 80 minutes.
Ealing Trailfinders came close to starting in explosive fashion when scrumhalf Josh Davies sniped down the blindside and nearly put Phil Chesters away. Instead it was the home team who opened the scoring following the opening exchanges.
Dragons’ fly-half Arwel Robson jinxed his way through the visitors’ defence and centre Barney Nightingale popped up on his shoulder for a simple run-in.
Penberthy opened Ealing Trailfinders’ account with his first penalty, on 18 minutes, but Robson landed one of his own to keep the gap to seven before Nightingale took advantage of a James Cordy-Redden error to hack through and dive on the ball for his second.
Rhys Lawrence grabbed Ealing Trailfinders’ first try from a rolling maul, then just on the stroke of half-time Curtis Wilson peeled round off his wing to force his way over the line.
Penberthy’s conversion meant that the hosts only trailed 17-15 at the break and they enjoyed the better of the match at the start of the second half, but the Dragons’ defence held them out.
Nightingale secured his hattrick after Robson again broke through and off-loaded to his half-back partner Owen Davies, who in turn set Nightingale free to run in.
Mark Bright hit back with a classic number 8 pick-up try and it signalled a rise in Ealing Trailfinders’ intensity.
Penberthy’s second penalty gave Ealing Trailfinders the lead for the first time in the match before Robson’s three-pointer put the Dragons back in front. Penberthy then landed his third from just inside the Dragons’ half.
Robson had two chances from the tee as the clock ran down, but Ealing Trailfinders held on for the win which means they top their pool with nine points, three more than Yorkshire Carnegie in second.
Dragons Premiership XV
Tries (Nightingale 13, 26, 56), Conversions (Robson 14, 27, 28), Penalties (Robson 22, 73)
Tries (Lawrence 31, Wilson 40, Bright 63), Conversions (Penberthy 40, 64), Penalties (Penberthy 17, 65, 75)
Dragons Premiership XV
Will Talbot-Davis, Matthew Powell, Barney Nightingale, Connor Edwards, Jared Rosser, Arwel Robson, Owen Davies; John Lavender, Ellis Shipp, Leon Brown, Joe Davies, Rhys Clarke, Josh Skinner (capt), Andrew Waite, Robson Blake
Alun Rees, Keegan Bale, Richard Cornock, Henri Williams, Ieuan Jones, Owain Leonard, James Dixon
James Cordy-Redden, Curtis Wilson, Lewis Jones, Callum Wilson, Phil Chesters, Aaron Penberthy, Josh Davies; Will Davis, Rhys Lawrence, Alex Penny, Scott Andrews, Sam Pailor, Willie Ryan, Seb Nagle-Taylor, Chris York (captain)
Matt Cornish, Ignacio Lancuba, Lewis Thiede, Mark Bright, Aled Jenkins, Alex Walker, Ben Ward
Referee – Mark Turbey
Attendance - 200