Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club
TeamsHartpury RFC vs Ealing Trailfinders
Score 13 - 26
CompetitionChampionship
VenueThe Alpas Arena

Match Report - 21-Jan-2023

Man of the Match
Will Montgomery

It was a game that very nearly didn’t happen, with the main pitch frozen over, but our hosts were able to move the game over to the next door 4G pitch to ensure it still went ahead.

Despite this, the conditions were still difficult to deal with, given the freezing temperatures and heavy fog, but a penalty try in between Uzokwe’s brace and a late Carlo Tizzano score ensured we left to the Alpas with five points!

When the game finally did get underway, it did not take long for us to go on the attack. We had several good opportunities in the first 10 minutes to get on the scoreboard, but we lacked that killer edge to convert chances into points and Hartpury came out of this period unscathed.

Then on the quarter of an hour mark, Hartpury managed to score totally against the run of play. A simple missed tackle allowed the Brad Denty to break clear, before the ball was popped inside to Matty Jones. The scrum-half ran in under the sticks and Tommy Mathews added the extras to make the score 7-0.

Despite this score, we remained composed and built back into the game. Our most effective way of doing this came via the scrum. It took 25 minutes for us to get our first put-in, but from there we didn’t look back as we consistently won penalties for the rest of the afternoon. 

Off this first penalty we went to the corner and set up a rolling maul. Although it got disrupted, we managed to recycle well and the ball found its way to Uzokwe who powered over from 10m out! Craig Willis added the conversion and we were all tied up!

Hartpury added a penalty from Mathews to edge in front again, but we answered straight back on the 35 minute mark. With a 10m line-out, we set up a strong rolling maul that was moving forward at serious pace. With the try line beckoning, Hartpury cynically entered from the side to pull it down and the referee was left with no choice to award a penalty try and send the Hartpury player to the bin.

Then on the stroke of half-time, we were in again! Another dominant rolling maul crashed over with Uzokwe dotting down and Willis adding the conversion to make it 10-21 at the break.

With the hosts restored to a full compliment, they started the second-half the stronger of the two sides, attacking right from the outset and eventually settling for a penalty through Mathews on the 47 minute mark.

Although Hartpury would have liked to have kicked on from here, our defence stood firm throughout the second 40 and we were able to limit them to just those three points. This was partly due to our scrum which got us out of trouble on our 5m line on several occasions!

With 15 minutes to go, the scrum was able to help us set up our bonus point score as we won the penalty that saw us go to the corner. Here we launched our attack and after several patient phases, quick ball allowed replacement Tizzano to further his lead at the top of the Championship try scoring charts.

With the bonus point secured we were able to see out the rest of the game and although we weren’t at our best in the second half, we secured a 13-26 victory.

After the game, Director of Rugby Ben Ward said: “I’m really pleased with that result, Hartpury are the form team in the league as they’ve won their last five, so we’re delighted to come here and get the five points.