Ealing Trailfinders 40-23 Bedford Blues
Ealing Trailfinders ensured they go into the festive period top of Pool 5 in the British and Irish Cup after they ran in five tries against a determined Bedford Blues team
Curtis Wilson, Mark Bright, Seb Nagle-Taylor and Phil Chesters scored tries in the first half and Matt Cornish came off the bench to add a fifth in the second. Aaron Penberthy also weighed in with three conversions and three penalties.
Ealing Trailfinders quickly took control of the match. After three minutes Penberthy picked out Wilson with a cross-kick and the wing collected and shrugged off the Bedford Blues defence to score in the corner.
Penberthy added the conversion from out wide, but the Blues hit back immediately when Myles Dorrian converted a penalty.
The home fly-half replied with a penalty of his own minutes later and following another penalty Bright was driven over from the back of a maul.
Bedford Blues hit back and their pack peppered the line with attacks from close range, but Alex Walker made a vital try-saving tackle to deny the visitors their opening score.
The Blues continued to attack the line and while flanked Ed Taylor knocked on at the line, Dorrian scored his second penalty to reduce the arrears.
The home pack won another penalty from a scrum and from the resulting driven lineout Nagle-Taylor touched down. Minutes later Glen Townson nearly wrapped up the up the bonus point, but he was held up after driving over the line.
Ealing Trailfinders continued to attack and after the forwards had their turn Penberthy set the backline running and Lewis Jones put Chesters away to score in the corner.
Nagle-Taylor marked the start of the second half with two rasping runs through the Bedford Blues defence and while Chesters was unable to capitalise on a Penberthy cut-out pass, the fly-half converted his second penalty to open the second-half scoring.
The Blues responded with another concerted period of pressure. Captain Mike Le Bourgeois wiggled his way close to the line and after wrapping round his backline Dorrian raced away to score in the corner.
Alex Penny came off the bench and immediately came up with an important turnover from a Blues scrum. It allowed Ealing Trailfinders to build some pressure and Penberthy knocked over his third penalty to keep the visitors at arm’s length.
Cornish scored the fifth try with only his second touch after coming off the bench, but Bedford Blues continued to push forward and Jake Sharp came off the bench to score his side’s second.
Jordan Burns raced away for Bedford Blues’ third try just ahead of the final whistle, but the five points mean that Ealing Trailfinders now sit five points ahead of Yorkshire Carnegie with two matches remaining in the pool.
Tries (Wilson 3, Bright 13, Nagle-Taylor 26, Chesters 38, Cornish 63), Conversions (Penberthy 4, 14, 26) Penalties (Penberthy 9, 43, 57)
Tries (Dorrian 48, Sharp 75, Burns 79), Conversions (Dorrian 48), Penalties (Dorrian 5, 24)
Luke Daniels, Curtis Wilson, Lewis Jones, Joe Munro, Phil Chesters, Aaron Penberthy, Alex Walker; James Gibbons, Alun Walker, Lewis Thiede, Carwyn Jones, Glen Townson, Willie Ryan, Seb Nagle-Taylor, Mark Bright (captain)
Matt Cornish, Ignacio Lancuba, Alex Penny, Harry Casson, Adam Preocanin, Josh Davies, Will Harries
Michael Le Bourgeois (captain), Elliot Clement-Hill, Tom Farrell, Ollie Dodge, Dean Adamson, Myles Dorrian, Tom James; Jack Culverhouse, Dan George, Christian Judge, Mike Howard, Will Carrick-Smith, Ed Taylor, Josh Buggea, Paul Tupai
Jacob Fields, Camilo Parilli-Ocampo, Byron Hodge, Justin Blanchet, Ben Adams, Jordan Burns, Jake Sharp
Referee – Gareth Newman
Attendance - 428