Jersey Reds vs Ealing Trailfinders

Jersey Reds vs Ealing Trailfinders Feb 2023
28 - 27
Full Time


Date Time League Season
February 4, 2023 2:00 pm Championship Cup 2022-2023


Match Report

Ealing Trailfinders came agonisingly close to achieving the ultimate comeback in Jersey, but ultimately fell 28-27 to the Reds.

From being 21-0 down just before the break, tries from Alun Walker and Craig Hampson got them back in the game, before Nathan Earle edged the visitors in front.

Jersey then answered back, but Jordan Burns’ late try gave Trailfinders the chance to win it, but the conversion from out wide went just wide.

Despite this, Ealing Trailfinders Director of Rugby said: “I can’t fault the effort in that second-half and I’m really proud of how we responded.”

In this huge clash at the top of Pool 1, it was Trailfinders who started the faster of the two sides, with some early dominance at the scrum and a very impressive rolling maul which marched them 20m up the pitch before winning a penalty.

Sadly, this early pressure couldn’t be converted into points, as slowly Jersey found a foothold in the encounter.

With it still scoreless after 20 minutes, it was anyone’s guess as to who would cross first with both sides making as many errors as they did breaks.

This didn’t last long however, as on the 22nd minute Jersey’s James Hadfield was able to get over for the hosts from close range. Then just five minutes later, James Dun dotted down before Ben Woollett was on the end of a nice free flowing move to grab Jersey’s third, five minutes from half-time.

With the clock in the red, Jersey’s Sean O’Connor was sent to sin-bin for a shoulder off the ball. This allowed Craig Willis to put the ball 15 metres out and for Trailfinders to set up their rolling maul. With some real steam behind it, Walker was able to get over and Willis converted from the touchline to make it 21-7 at half-time.

The second 40 saw a real change in attitude, as to a man Trailfinders fought to get back into the contest. Strong carries and quick ball eventually allowed Hampson to snipe around the fringes of a ruck and despite an attempted tap-tackle, he dotted down under the sticks. Willis converted and it was 21-14.

After this fast start, Jersey were always going to come back. Repeated team maul infringements saw James Gibbons go to the sin bin, but crucially Trailfinders refused to allow Jersey the score, as they managed to hold the hosts up over the line.

From this the green and whites regathered their composure, and went on to win a scrum against the head with only seven forwards on the pitch.

With an hour on the clock, Trailfinders threw the ball around and managed to win a penalty 40 metres out and Willis made no mistake in converting.

With one passage of play left until Gibbons returned, Jersey went on the attack in an attempt to make their extra man pay. But after turning the ball over inside their own half, Trailfinders launched a superb free flowing passage of play. Will Davis was released down the blindside and he passed to his front-row counterpart Kevin O’Byrne. The hooker then played an outrageous no-look, switch pass to James Cordy-Redden who in turn found Nathan Earle, who rounded the final defender to score his first Trailfinders try. The conversion just sailed wide but the score put the visitors 21-22 in front, just as they returned to 15 men.

The next 15 minutes saw the game tighten up somewhat as the clock ticked closer and closer to the end of the game. Then with five minutes to go, Dan Barnes was put through a hole to score under the posts and leave the hosts six points in front.

Despite this setback, Trailfinders remained composed, slowly working their way up the pitch. After a breathtaking passage of play, the ball found its way to Jordan Burns who was playing out of position on the wing. With just a half-yard of space, he put on the afterburners and managed to scorch in and score in the corner with the clock in the red. Willis then stepped up to snatch the win, but agonisingly it sailed just wide.


Full-time Score: Jersey Reds 28-27 Ealing Trailfinders

T: Walker 40′, Hampson 47, Earle 63′, Burns 80′

C: Willis 40′, 47′

P: Wills 61′


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Stade Santander International
St Peter, St. Peter, JE3 7AG, Jersey