Ealing Trailfinders beat Bedford Blues 41-21, opening their Championship campaign in fine fashion.

A brace from Cian Kelleher and scores from Reuben Bird Tulloch, Will Montgomery, Barney Maddison and Max Bodilly secured all 5 points for the away side.

This sets them up very well as they head int round two of the Championship season away to Hartpury.

The Blues opened the scoring in the fourth minute. Sean French received a sumptuous cross-field kick from fly-half Will Maisey to put the home side ahead. Maisey converted the extra points.

Bedford’s ill-discipline early on in the first quarter led to both Jordan Onojaife and captain Alex Day being sent to the sin bin in consecutive minutes.

Trailfinders quickly capitalised on their extra men as Cian Kelleher scored uncontested on the wing following a 5m scrum. Craig Willis’ conversion unluckily bounced off the post, and the home team kept the lead.

This was short-lived, however, as ex-Bedford Blue Reuben Bird-Tulloch crossed the whitewash after breaking through the line. Willis’s conversion was good, and Trailfinders took a 12-7 lead.

A scintillating 25-metre breakaway from Will Montgomery pushed Trailfinders down the pitch.

Bedford’s discipline did not improve, as they conceded a penalty after the carry, and Oisin Heffernan received their third yellow card of the half.

Trailfinders again took advantage of the extra numbers, as Cian Kelleher scored his second try of the day in the corner. Willis converted the extra points with a brilliant kick from the corner.

It was the 14-man Blues who scored the last try of the half. Kieran Curran took advantage of a gap in the Trailfinders defence to score from 20 metres. The conversion was successful, and the teams went into the half 14-19.

The second half got off to a slow start as both sides struggled to get going. In the 54th minute, Trailfinders benefitted from yet another penalty, and from the resulting maul, Will Montgomery bundled the ball over the line. Willis slotted home the conversion, extending Trailfinders’ lead to 12 points.

Bedford answered back.

This time, Trailfinders conceded a penalty on the halfway line. After the resulting lineout, Bedford put together a flowing move, and Ethan Grayson stretched out to place the ball over the line. Maisey’s added the extra points to leave the score 21-26.

It was a tense last 10 minutes. A penalty resulting from a scrum in the Bedford half allowed Trailfinders to extend the lead by three points.

Bedford’s poor discipline continued, and a penalty allowed Trailfinders inside the Blues 22. After multiple successive phases, Captain Barney Maddison all but secured the win, scoring their fifth try of the game.

Trailfinders were not done. As the clock hit 80 minutes, Josh Taylor made a brilliant 50-metre break through the Blues’ defence.

He was brought down just short of the line, but two passes later, Max Bodilly scored in the corner to end the game.

Ealing Trailfinders survived a late second-half comeback, as they secured a 31-40 victory away at Bedford Blues.

At one point the visitors were 12-33 in front, but Bedford cut loose in the final 20 and managed to bring it the score back to 31-33 with six minutes to go.

But a late score from the league’s top scorer Carlo Tizzano, helped the league leaders maintain their six point lead at the top, and also end Bedford’s unbeaten home record this season.

It was a game where the Trailfinders flew out of the blocks, with Alun Walker marauding down the right touchline before getting the ball back inside to Luke Daniels who dotted down after two minutes. The winger, who was given the kicking duties for the afternoon, impressively converted from the touchline to get the visitors off to the perfect start.

Bedford then responded quickly however. First they dotted down from close range, before then getting their second on the quarter of an hour mark after an exciting passage of play saw them take advantage of an overlap.

Now with the momentum against them, Trailfinders went back to their basics which sae them grab a quick fire double of their own.

First Craig Hampson sold an outrageous dummy from close range to muscle over after a powerful rolling maul had come up just short. Then with five minutes left of the first half, a wayward kick to Jonah Holmes saw the fullback cut free. The Welshman spotted a gap in the defensive line, and despite being tap-tackled, managed to get back to his feet before offloading to Andrew Davidson. The second-row then released Simon Uzokwe, and the number eight put on the afterburners to run in the score from 30m out. Daniels converted both scores to make it Bedford Blues 12-21 Ealing Trailfinders at the break.

The second 40 started in very similar fashion to the first, Trailfinders scoring early. It took just four minutes for Walker to muscle over on the back of a powerful rolling maul, as the visitors grabbed the bonus point after just 44 minutes.

Throughout the afternoon, Trailfinders had had some serious scrum dominance, and on the 55th minute, the referee ran out of patience as he sent the Bedford prop to the bin. Instantly they made the extra numbers pay, as they worked the ball from right to left, tying in the defenders and making space for Max Bodilly to score in the corner.

With twenty minutes to go and the score being 12-33, Trailfinders should have cruised to victory, but Bedford had other ideas. Dean Adamson and Michael Le Bouigoius went over either side of a Cian Kelleher yellow card to make it 24-33. Then with the game entering the final stages, Jake Garside grabbed the visitors’ fifth to make it a two point game with six minutes to go.

Trailfinders could have then been shell shocked after this rapid comeback from the hosts, but they regrouped and slowly reasserted their dominance. After repeated penalties, Tizzano crashed over with three minutes to play to ensure the victory and see them return to Ealing with all five points!

It was a performance the whole team can be proud of, but it was a particularly proud day for George Davis, as the tighthead not only dominated the scrum, but he also made his 50th appearance for the club and was presented with his cap after the game.

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The West Londoners headed to Bedford on Saturday afternoon to take on a Blues side who had also picked up four bonus-point wins so far this season.

In what has started as an entertaining kick-off to the Championship season, only four points separated the two sides going into the game, with neutrals licking their lips as what promised to be an exciting encounter between two exciting teams.

It was Ben Ward’s men who came firing out of the blocks, with tough defending by the away side leading to Simon Uzokwe winning his team a penalty just inside their own half. Shingler kicked to the 22, and several phases later the ball was worked out to Matt Gordon, who broke free from his tackler to race away opening the scoring with just three minutes on the clock.

Just moments later Trailfinders were in again, this time it was fellow back David Johnston who was fed the ball on the wing, darting inside to beat his man and dot down for his side’s second try of the game with just over 5 minutes gone. Shingler slotted home the conversion to put the travelling side 14 points to the good.


Not the start that the Blues were looking for, Mike Rayer’s men soon started to apply their own pressure with a sustained period inside Trailfinders half. However it was to prove in vain as another solid defensive display saw back-rower Simon Uzokwe win another penalty at the breakdown, alleviating the pressure that his team were under, much to the dismay of a roaring home crowd of just over 2000 spectators.

Moments later it was time for Uzokwe to punish the Blues once again, this time at the other end of the pitch. Luke Daniels found space on the wing and broke free to gain valuable metres, moments and several phases later the ball was fed back to Uzokwe, to power his way over the line for Ealing Trailfinders third of the afternoon.

Bedford looked shell-shocked by the efficiency of Ben Ward’s men and struggled to get a foothold in the game, nothing they were doing seemed to pay off and were met by a stern Trailfinders defence that stopped them from gaining metres. The Blues defence were holding strong after further pressure from the visiting side, but were once again pierced after Jack Digby broke free from his tackler to get Ealing within 10 metres. The ball once again fed back to Uzokwe, who used his brawn to dot down for his second try.

Ealing Trailfinders were dominant in the first half and weren’t content with just wrapping up the bonus point before half-time, with Matt Gordon being found in space on the outside to race away to score another try.

With the clock in the red, there was still time for Ward’s side to inflict more pain, when another won penalty led to Shingler kicking to the corner, Malton throwing an arrow line out and jumping onto the back of the rolling maul, who was bundled over the line with the Hooker getting the ball down, leaving Trailfinders 38 points up going into the break.

Half-Time Bedford Blues 0 – Ealing Trailfinders 38


The home side reappeared for the second half and looked revitalised, perhaps knowing that they had an uphill battle to get anything from the game, they sprung into action much to the delight of the Bedford fans.

After what was an impressive start to the second half for the home side, they were finally rewarded for their efforts after 50 minutes, when Dean Adamson was found in space on the left wing dotting down, after sustained pressure inside Ealing’s 22.

Moments later Bedford looked to have dotted down again after a clever grubber kick caught Ealing’s backline off guard. Dotting down their try was ruled out for a knock-on when grounding.

It was a frustrating start to the second period for the West Londoners with attacks just not coming off, however ten minutes later Ealing were on the scoresheet once again, this time is was Club Captain Rayn Smid who was found space out wide, brushing off the on coming tackle to score in the corner extending the away sides points tally once again.

The men in green and white looked to kill the tie off and when Charlie Walker was fed the ball out wide once again stepping his man to race home, Shinglers conversion bringing up the half century.

With the eighty minutes up Bedford were looking to finish the game strongly, giving their supporters something to cheer about and they got their second try of the game when Jack Garside was put in to score.

A commanding performance from the league leaders, as we go into a break week before welcoming Jersey Reds to Trailfinders Sports Club for Round 8 of the Championship Rugby season.

Full Time Bedford Blues 14 – Ealing Trailfinders 50



Starting 15’s

Bedford Blues 

1. Joey Conway

2. Reece Marshall

3. Corrie Barrett

4. Luke Frost

5. Alex Woolford

6. Bailey Ransom

7. Joe Atkinson

8. Tui Ura

9. Alex Day

10. Will Maisey

11. Dean Adamson

12. Ethan Grayson

13. Jamie Elliot

14. Pat Tapley

15. Rich Lane ©


16. Jack Hughes

17. Josh Pieterse

18. Osman Dimen

19. Jordan Onojaife

20. Oli Stedman

21. Jake Garside

22. Louis Grimoldby

23. Matt Worley

Ealing Trailfinders 

1. James Gibbons

2. Shaun Malton

3. Lewis Thiede

4. Bobby de Wee

5. James Cannon

6. Jack Digby

7. Simon Uzokwe

8. Rayn Smid ©

9. Craig Hampson

10. Steven Shingler

11. Luke Daniels

12. Matt Gordon

13. Max Bodilly

14. Charlie Walker

15. David Johnson


16. Jan Henning-Campher

17. Dylan Smith

18. Kyle Whyte

19. Simon Linsell

20. Malon Al-Jiboori

21. Jordan Burns

22. Craig Willis

23. Reuben Bird-Tulloch

It proved to be a tough Friday night under the lights for Ealing Trailfinders, as they battled against a resilient Bedford Blues side. With a gritty performance at Goldington Road, to come away with the bonus point win.

A fast start to proceedings saw Centre’s Max Bodilly and Pat Howard light the touch paper, in a game which saw the Trailfinders score another six tries to add to their Greene Kind IPA Championship points total.

Ben Ward’s men hit the road looking to keep their playoff final hopes well and truly in their own hands, with rivals Doncaster Knights and Saracens breathing down their necks, in a race for the top 2 playoff places.

After an impressive 69-7 victory last time out over Richmond, the West London outfit named six changes to face Bedford including a debut in the back-row for newcomer Max Northcote-Green.

It took just five minutes for The Trailfinders to find space, with break down the left gaining valuable metres, going through the phases through the forward pack, until Max Bodilly found himself in the perfect position to pick and go, stretching to dot down. Shingler adding the extras to put the visitors seven points up.

Just moments later Bedford were once again penalised for not releasing at the breakdown, with Shingler kicking precisely to the corner. A smooth line out play between Shaun Malton and James Cannon led to a rolling maul, before the ball was moved out to the backs, with Bodilly feeding it out wide to Pat Howard who raced home to score the Trailfinders second of the evening, Shingler once again adding the extras to double the travelling sides points tally.

Bedford’s first spell in the visitor’s 22 didn’t come until the 15th minute, when Will Maisey kicked to corner after Ealing Trailfinders were penalised at breakdown, but the ball was quickly won back by the visitors, when Lewis Thiede showed strength at the break down to win the penalty.

The Trailfinders were soon on the warpath again with just 20 minutes on the clock, after a big kick into touch within Bedford’s 22 from Shingler led once again to a well worked line-out. The ball being worked out to the back from Malton’s Lineout which found James Cannon, before Charlie Walker was found in space to power home for The Trailfinders third try.

It seemed to be all one way traffic, but Bedford weren’t going to go down without a fight, working the ball out wide after breakdown inside Ealing Trailfinders 22, with Pat Tapley dotting down in the right hand corner, to get the home sides first points of the game.

The home side weren’t finished their either, when with the clock in the red, Bedford scored again through Tapley, Matt Worley breaks away from the chase Trailfinders defence, offloading for the winger to score. Fly-half Will Maisey this time adding the conversion to close the gap going into half-time.

HT 12-21

The home side came out, picking up where they finished the first half, after a number of strong carries in the sloping corner of the field put them within touching distance of the white wash. Joe Atkinson then latched onto the back of the rolling maul, to dot down for the home sides third try of the game.

Moments later a kick over the top from Shingler put Bedford’s defence under pressure once again, winning the turn over at breakdown the Trailfinders built multiple phases inside Bedford’s 22, after a number of scrums the ball was worked right to Pat Howard who stepped inside to dot down for his second of the game. Shingler once again adding the extras.

The game was all but put to bed with ten minutes to go with a big scrum from the Trailfinders replacement front row, saw Ealing keep hold of possession, going again and again with a number of big carries, before Jordan Burns was fed the ball by Max Bodilly, throwing the dummy and racing through the gap to score.

The visitors weren’t finished there though, and a sixth try was awarded with just minutes to go. A great break from Angus Kernohan, who picked up a loose knock on ball to race away, with only a last minute swipe from Bedfords chasing back defence stopping him from scoring. This momentum though led to Guy Thompson dotting down at the back of the rolling maul, after coming off the bench to replace Simon Uzokwe.

Another bonus point win for Ben Ward’s side and another step closer to securing a place in the Championship playoffs, with next weekend’s clash with Doncaster proving a season defining fixture for both sides.

FT 17-40

Bedford Blues –

15. Rich Lane (C), 14. Pat Tapley, 13. Tom Litchfield, 12. Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas, 11. Matt Worley, 10. Will Maisey, 9. Connor Tupai; 1. Emmanuel Lyogun, 2. Jacob Fields (52 Hughes), 3. Ed Prowse (40 Paul), 4. Will Carrick Smith, 5. Jordan Onojaife, 6. JJ Tonks, 7. Joe Atkinson, 8. Tui Uru (56 McCarthy.

Bedford Replacements:

16. Jack Hughes, 17. Sean McCarthy, 18. Henry Paul, 19. Oli Curry, 20. Ollie Newman, 21. James Lennon, 22. Ethan Grayson, 23. Elijah Niko

Tries – Tapley 2, Atkinson

Conversions – Maisey

Yellow Cards – Henry Paul

Ealing Trailfinders –

15. David Johnston, 14. Charlie Walker, 13. Max Bodilly, 12. Pat Howard, 11. Angus Kernohan, 10. Steven Shingler, 9. Craig Hampson (63 Burns); 1. James Gibbons (62 Davis), 2. Shaun Malton, 3. Lewis Thiede (54 Whyte), 4. Bobby De Wee, 5. James Cannon (62 Casson), 6. Max Northcote-Green (66 Murphy), 7. Simon Uzokwe (61 G Thompson), 8. Rayn Smid (c).

Ealing Replacements:

16. Michael Van Vuuren, 17. Will Davis, 18. Kyle Whyte, 19. Harry Casson, 20. Kieran Murphy, 21. Jordan Burns, 22. Luke Daniels, 23. Guy Thompson

Tries – Bodilly, Howard 2, Walker, Burns, Thompson.

Conversions – Shingler 5

Officials: Referee – Sara Cox; AR 1 – Mike Hudson; AR 2 – Ian Bibey; 4th – Tim Allatt.

Ealing Trailfinders ground out a crucial victory over Bedford Blues in treacherous conditions to leave Goldington Road with an 18-5 win.

Ben Ward’s side took advantage of a superior set-piece in the first half to build a lead, and it would not be breached in the closing stages as they deservedly registered back-to-back wins in the Greene King IPA Championship.

The wind and rain arrived shortly before kick off and didn’t let off for the entire evening making running rugby virtually impossible, so the Trailfinders relied on their rolling maul to give them the advantage.

Matt Cornish put the visitors in to the lead with just four minutes on the clock as they came flying out of the blocks. A penalty was kicked to the corner by Craig Willis, and from the lineout the maul powered to the line, allowing Cornish to dot down. Willis added the extras to put his side 7-0 ahead.

Bedford responded with 18 minutes on the clock to get themselves on to the scoreboard. They went through the phases in the 22 and then spun the ball wide to Ryan Hutler who beat the last defender to score in the corner. The conversion sailed wide in the wind, ensuring the Trailfinders held a two point advantage.

Willis then extended the lead to five with a penalty just before the half hour mark, and then in the closing stages of the half a crucial moment saw Cornish score his second to put his side in the ascendancy.

A penalty just five metres from the line was again kicked to the corner, and in identical fashion Cornish broke away from the maul to the delight of the visiting supporters. The conversion went just wide, but the Trailfinders went down the tunnel at the break with a 10 point lead.

In those conditions a 10 point advantage was always going to be significant, and the scrum began to shine in the second half with a succession of penalties leading to two yellow cards for the hosts for Josh Buggea and Karl Garside.

A number of penalties were kicked to the corner but the wind meant that the lineouts were going astray and the chances passed by.

Craig Hampson and Reon Joseph combined off the base of a ruck as they looked for an inside pass which would have set the winger free, but again in the rain the ball popped out of his hands.

Craig Willis then kicked his second penalty with just fifteen minutes left to increase the lead to 13 points, and despite Bedford looking for a way back in to the match the Green and Whites kept their try-line intact in the final stages to ensure that they left Bedford with an impressive victory.

The Trailfinders welcome Coventry to Trailfinders Sports Club next Saturday as they eye a third consecutive win to keep up the pressure in the early part of the season.

Bedford Blues:

15. Rich Lane 14. Pat Tapley 13. Ed Coulson 12. Fraser Strachan 11. Ryan Hutler 10. Lewis Robling 9. Alex Day 1. Joe Wrafter 2. Robbie Smith 3. Henry Paul 4. Jordan Onojaife 5. Oli Curry 6. Josh Buggea 7. Joe Atkinson 8. Dan Temm ©


16. Andrew Boye 17. Sean McCarthy 18. Karl Garside 19. Ed Taylor 20. Devante Onojaife 21. Grayson Hart 22. Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas 23. Charlie Reed


Tries: Ryan Hutler (18 minutes)

Yellow Cards: Josh Buggea, Karl Garside

Ealing Trailfinders:

15 Tommy Bell 14 James Cordy Redden 13 David Johnston 12 Harry Sloan 11 Reon Joseph 10 Craig Willis 9 Craig Hampson 1 Will Davis 2 Matt Cornish (replaced by Alun Walker, 50 mins) 3 Elliot Millar Mills *(replaced by Craig Trenier, 35 mins) 4 Dave McKern 5 Harry Casson 6 Kieran Murphy 7 Jordy Reid 8 Rayn Smid ©


16 Alun Walker 17 Jake Ellwood 18 Craig Trenier 19 Ben West 20 Andrew Durutalo 21 Jordan Burns 22 Peter Lydon 23 Lewis Jones


Tries: Matt Cornish (4, 37 minutes)

Conversions: Craig Willis (4 minutes)

Penalties: Craig Willis (26, 68 minutes)

Match Officials:

Referee: Greg Macdonald

Assistant Referees: Ian Bibey & Fergus Kirby

Fourth Official: Dean Richards

Attendance: 2162

Half Time Score: Bedford Blues 5-15 Ealing Trailfinders

Ealing Trailfinders started the 2019/20 season in emphatic fashion with a comprehensive 57-26 victory over Bedford Blues at Goldington Road.

Ben Ward’s side were devastating in attack throughout as they crossed for nine tries to begin their defence of the Championship Cup with a bonus point win.

With conditions still showing signs of pre-season in 26 degree heat the players could have been forgiven for a slow start, but the West Londoners came flying out of the blocks and took the lead after just eight minutes.

Pat Howard broke the line and carried all the way up to the try-line from 50 metres out, and the ball was quickly recycled to James Cordy Redden who scored from the following phase.

Just five minutes later the second try was scored in impressive style. Jack Tovey spun the ball out to Reon Joseph who had three defenders in front of him but used his searing pace to run straight down the line to score in the corner. Craig Willis’ touchline conversion put the Trailfinders 12 points ahead.

A number of defensive sets then followed as Bedford looked to get back in to the match, but the visitors held out admirably and then in the second quarter pulled away whilst securing the try bonus point before half time.

With 30 minutes on the clock a penalty was kicked to the corner, and after going through the phases in the build up towards the line, Kieran Murphy picked a great line to fly past the final defender and dive over the line.

Bedford responded with a try from Pat Tapley after a break from former Trailfinder Grayson Hart to get them on the scoreboard, but the Green and Whites hit straight back as the bonus point try came courtesy of Jack Tovey.

Tommy Bell read a pass brilliantly to intercept and had Kieran Murphy alongisde him who carried the ball in to the 22. Tovey’s support line was rewarded as he received an offload and coasted his way to the line. That was to be the last play of the first half, with the Trailfinders heading down the tunnel with a 24-5 lead.

The second half started in the same way that the first half ended, as the Trailfinders continued to grow their advantage. With just two minutes gone Tommy Bell broke the line from first phase and had Rayn Smid alongside him who was able to stroll under the posts.

Harry Casson then crossed for try number six as he took advantage of a strong rolling maul to bundle over the line with the lead now over 30 points. A number of replacements then got their chance to impress, and the Trailfinders showed no signs of slowing down with more tries to follow.

Jordan Burns scored a typically characteristic try against his former side on the hour mark to continue the momentum. Ben West flew through the defence with a great support line, and Burns was on hand to race his way to the line.

Rayn Smid took his tally of tries to two with 10 minutes remaining, the captain was again the beneficiary of a break, this time from David Johnston before gathering the final pass to score. The conversion from Steven Shingler brought up the half century of points, which prompted a Bedford revival.

A spell of three tries in the final five minutes ensured that the Blues would secure a try bonus point, with the first coming from Dan Temm who showed his pace to run clear from the half way line.

Joe Atkinson then burst on to an offload to beat the defence for try number three, and they got their fourth from Ryan Butler who ran clear to dot down in the corner.

Appropriately it was the Trailfinders who ended the match by crossing for try number nine with the final play. They entered the 22 and kept hammering away at the line, with Jack Tovey stepping the last defender to cap off his debut with a second try. Shingler’s conversion was the last act, confirming the 57-26 win to start the season in perfect style.

Bedford Blues:

15 Rich Lane 14 Pat Tapley 13 Matt Worley 12 Oskar Hirsky-Douglas 11 Ryan Butler 10 Sam Leeming 9 Grayson Hart 1 Joe Wrafter 2 Robbie Smith 3 Alex Penny 4 Ed Taylor © 5 Jordan Onojaife 6 Dan Temm 7 Joe Atkinson 8 Huw Worthington


16 Sean McCarthy 17 Henry Paul 18 Karl Garside 19 Will Carrick Smith 20 Oli Curry 21 James Lennon 22 Lewis Robling 23 Ed Coulson


Tries: Pat Tapley (36 minutes) Dan Temm (74 minutes) Joe Atkinson (79 minutes) Ryan Butler (80 minutes)

Conversions: Ed Coulson (74, 80 minutes) James Lennon (79 minutes)

Ealing Trailfinders:

15 David Johnston 14 James Cordy Redden 13 Jack Tovey 12 Pat Howard (replaced by Tommy Bell, 15 mins) 11 Reon Joseph 10 Craig Willis (replaced by Steven Shingler, 65 mins) 9 Nathan Fowles (replaced by Jordan Burns, 55 mins) 1 Jordan Els (replaced by Jake Ellwood, 60 mins) 2 Alun Walker (replaced by Matt Cornish, 60 mins) 3 Craig Trenier (replaced by George Davis, 55 mins) (replaced by Jake Ellwood, 60 mins) 4 Sam Dickinson (replaced by Ben West, 55 mins) 5 Harry Casson 6 Kieran Murphy 7 Jordy Reid (replaced by Andrew Durutalo, 65 mins) 8 Rayn Smid ©


16 Matt Cornish 17 Jake Ellwood 18 George Davis 19 Ben West 20 Andrew Durutalo 21 Jordan Burns 22 Tommy Bell 23 Steven Shingler


Tries: James Cordy Redden (8 minutes) Reon Joseph (13 minutes) Kieran Murphy (32 minutes) Jack Tovey (38, 80 minutes) Rayn Smid (43, 67 minutes) Harry Casson (52 minutes) Jordan Burns (63 minutes)

Conversions: Craig Willis (13, 32, 43, 63 minutes) Steven Shingler (68, 80 minutes)

Match Officials:

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys

Assistant Referees: Greg Garner & William Burton

Fourth Official: Calum Howard

Half Time Score: Bedford Blues 5-24 Ealing Trailfinders

Ealing Trailfinders started 2019 with a frustrating defeat as they fell to Bedford Blues at Goldington Road.

Ben Ward’s men enjoyed most of the possession and territory but lacked a clinical edge, eventually seeing them suffer a 23-18 loss.

The Blues started strongly and took a 10 point lead after just seven minutes to race in to an early advantage.

Will Hooley kicked a penalty from in front of the posts to edge them in front before a loose clearance allowed them to counter attack, with a smart offload seeing Chris Czekaj dive over the line in the corner. Hooley’s touchline conversion gave them the perfect start in front of their own supporters.

The Trailfinders responded in the best possible way with Jordan Burns scoring just a minute later to cut the deficit. Dave Johnston gathered a high ball and stepped his way past three defenders and then drew in the final man to release the former Bedford scrum half who raced clear from just outside the 22. Craig Willis added the extras to bring the visitors right back in to the match.

Ben Ward’s side then dominated possession as they looked to go in to the lead despite playing up the slope in the first half, relying on their rolling maul to put them on the front foot. An offload from Harry Sloan sent his centre partner Pat Howard through the middle but he was eventually hauled down 10 metres from the line and Bedford stole the ball back.

The pressure eventually paid off, with Willis kicking a penalty from right in front of the posts to bring his side level on the scoreboard.

Just when it looked as if the Trailfinders would start to turn the pressure in to points they were undone by some ill-discipline in the final stages of the first half, allowing Bedford to take the lead just before the break.

Two offside penalties in as many minutes were kicked by American international Hooley, who ensured the Blues would end the half with a 16-10 advantage.

The West Londoners made a good start to the second half and had a great chance to take the lead in the first minute after turning over the re-start. The ball was immediately spun wide to Laurence May who dived for the line but a last ditch tackle held him up. The referee went back for an earlier infringement, but the ball spat out of the side and the Blues cleared.

From the next phase however the Green and Whites got a penalty in front of the posts, and Willis kicked straight through the posts to cut the gap to three points with half an hour remaining.

Another opportunity followed as a five metre lineout mauled towards the line for the visitors, but just as it began to get the momentum a knock on gave the Trailfinders more frustration.

Eventually the Trailfinders took a deserved lead on the hour mark as Matt Cornish rumbled over the line from close range. A penalty was kicked to the corner and the rolling maul drove over the line, allowing the hooker to dot the ball down. The conversion went just wide but the visitors now held a two point lead.

In frustrating fashion Bedford re-took the lead straight away as a loose ball bounced up to Lane who beat two defenders before offloading to Dean Adamson who was able to dive over the line under the posts. Hooley added the conversion to restore their five point lead.

Seb Stegmann and Rayn Smid then combined down the wing as they looked for a crucial try to bring the score level but the opportunity never arrived and Bedford saw out the closing stages to record a hard fought victory.

Bedford Blues:

15. Rich Lane 14. Ryan Hutler 13. Lewis Robling 12. Chris Czekaj 11. Dean Adamson 10. Will Hooley 9. Lee Dickson (c) 1. Sean McCarthy 2. Jacob Fields 3. Alex Penny 4. Ed Taylor 5. Mark Flanagan 6. Oli Curry 7. Josh Buggea 8. Jarad Williams


16. Tadgh McElroy 17. Hayden King 18. Ben Cooper 19. Will Carrick-Smith 20. Justin Blanchet 21. James Lennon 22. Jake Sharp


Tries: Chris Czekaj (7 minutes) Dean Adamson (66 minutes)

Conversions: Will Hooley (7, 66 minutes)

Penalties: Will Hooley (3, 37, 40 minutes)

Ealing Trailfinders:

15 David Johnston 14 Seb Stegmann 13 Pat Howard (replaced by Laurence May, 40 mins) 12 Harry Sloan 11 James Cordy Redden 10 Craig Willis 9 Jordan Burns 1 Jordan Els (replaced by Alex Lunberg, 55mins) 2 Alun Walker (replaced by Matt Cornish, 50 mins) 3 Mark Tampin (replaced by Elliot Millar Mills, 60 mins) 4 Jordan Onojaife 5 Harry Casson 6 Rohan O’Regan 7 Jordy Reid (replaced by Ben Landry, 40 mins) 8 Rayn Smid ©


16 Matt Cornish 17 Alex Lundberg 18 Elliot Millar Mills 19 Ben Landry 20 Max Davies 21 Ryan Foley 22 Laurence May


Tries: Jordan Burns (8 minutes) Matt Cornish (62 minutes)

Conversions: Craig Willis (8 minutes)

Penalties: Craig Willis (29, 46 minutes)

Match Officials:

Referee: Michael Hudson

Assistant Referees: Shane Lewis & Ian Bibey

Fourth Official: Timothy Allatt

Half Time Score: Bedford Blues 16 – 10 Ealing Trailfinders

Ealing Trailfinders completed a dramatic late comeback to secure a memorable 24-23 victory over Bedford Blues at Goldington Road.

In what was the final match of the 2017 the West Londoners saved one of their best performances until last, as they came from 18-0 down with just 20 minutes remaining to earn a sensational win.

A penalty try as well as scores from Luke Carter and Barney Maddison brought the Trailfinders back in to it, before a nerveless conversion from Luke Daniels completed the drama in front of 3401 in Bedford.

The first half was one to forget for Ben Ward’s side who were uncharacteristically slow out of the blocks, and it was the Blues who raced in to the lead with two first half tries.

Harry Sheppard kicked the hosts ahead with a penalty after seven minutes, and they dominated possession in the early stages as they moved in to the ascendancy.

They were rewarded with a try on the 20 minute mark, as a huge overlap at the top of their famous slope allowed captain Michael LeBourgeois a free run over the try-line for the first five pointer of the match. Shepherd’s conversion was successful, extending their lead to 10-0.

The Trailfinders continued to look flustered and struggled in the set-piece as a number of lineouts went astray, and they were then punished with Bedford going over for another try.

A turnover in the midfield was quickly pounced on and spun to Dean Adamson who dived over the line after some neat hands to find the winger in space. The conversion went wide, but a penalty five minutes later ensured that the hosts held an 18-0 lead at half time.

It was immediately clear that the Trailfinders looked a different side in the second half and they began with plenty of intent as they went through the phases.

Despite spending plenty of time in the Bedford 22 they couldn’t translate that on to the scoreboard until the hour mark when a penalty try brought them back in to the match. A five metre scrum powered towards the line, and referee Simon Harding went straight under the posts to cut the deficit to 18-7.

Bedford’s re-start went straight in to touch which signalled how the Trailfinders were forcing their way back in to the match, and just moments later Luke Daniels kicked a penalty from in front of the posts to trim the gap to just eight points.

Again from the re-start Ben Ward’s men responded straight away as their performance went up the gears, with Luke Carter going over for a try to bring them within one point.

A superb kick chase forced Bedford in to an error, and Mark Bright bundled towards their defence before Carter gathered from outside the 22 and raced away to the line. Daniels’ conversion ensured we headed in to a blockbuster finish with the score at 18-17.

However it was the Blues who were to score next as it looked like they had secured the win with eight minutes left. They battered away at the try-line after some dominance up front before Alex Rae gathered a flat pass and couldn’t be stopped from just five metres out. They extended their lead to 23-17, but crucially the conversion went wide which kept Ealing within a converted try of going in front.

That much-needed try came with just three minutes remaining to send the travelling supporters in to raptures. A penalty was kicked to the corner, and with the resulting maul hauled down Barney Maddison powered his way over from close range. The conversion was still needed, and Daniels kept his cool to impressively edge his side one point in front.

That wasn’t to be the end of the drama, as the Blues came flying back in search of the win. They went through the phases and knew that a penalty would give them the chance of victory, but the defence kept their discipline and forced Bedford in to a drop goal. Hooley’s attempt went wide and confirmed the victory for Ealing, in circumstances that looked very unlikely just 20 minutes earlier.

The result means that the Trailfinders consolidate their position in second, entering 2018 fifteen points ahead of Yorkshire Carnegie in third.

Bedford Blues:

15. Matt Gallagher 14. Elliot Clement-Hill 13. Ollie Dodge 12. Michael LeBourgeois (c) 11. Dean Adamson 10. Harry Sheppard (replaced by Will Hooley) 9. Lee Dickson (replaced by Jordan Burns) 1. Sean McCarthy (replaced by Camilo Parilli-Ocampo) 2. Tom Lindsay (replaced by George Edgson) 3. Ben Cooper (replaced by Alex Penny) 4. Jordan Onojaife 5. Will Carrick-Smith 6. Alex Rae 7. Jack Nay (replaced by Josh Buggea) 8. Jarad Williams


16. George Edgson 17. Camilo Parilli-Ocampo 18. Alex Penny 19. Ed Taylor 20. Josh Buggea 21. Jordan Burns 22. Will Hooley


Tries: Michael LeBourgeois (20 minutes) Dean Adamson (29 minutes) Alex Rae (72 minutes)

Conversions: Harry Sheppard (20 minutes)

Penalties: Harry Sheppard (7, 34 minutes)

Ealing Trailfinders:

15 Luke Daniels 14 Seb Stegmann 13 Piers O’Conor 12 Joe Munro 11 Miles Mantella (replaced by Peter Lydon) 10 Rory Clegg 9 Luke Carter 1 Will Davis (replaced by James Gibbons) 2 Alun Walker (replaced by Matt Cornish) 3 Mark Tampin (replaced by Lewis Thiede) 4 Llewelyn Jones 5 Barney Maddison 6 Kieran Murphy (replaced by Morgan Allen) 7 Rayn Smid (replaced by Dan Temm) 8 Mark Bright (c)


16 Matt Cornish 17 James Gibbons 18 Lewis Thiede 19 Morgan Allen 20 Dan Temm 21 Dan Grant Adamson 22 Peter Lydon


Tries: Penalty Try (56 minutes) Luke Carter (63 minutes) Barney Maddison (76 minutes)

Conversions: Luke Daniels (63, 76 minutes)

Penalties: Luke Daniels (61 minutes)

Match Officials:

Referee: Simon Harding

Assistant Referees: Lionel Spooner & Ian Bibey

Fourth Official: Robbie Burke

Half Time Score: Bedford Blues 18 – 0 Ealing Trailfinders

Ealing Trailfinders won for the first time at Goldington Road after Mark Bright and Miles Mantella scored tries either side of half-time and Aaron Penberthy scored 19 points with his boot.

It was a match that was littered by elementary mistakes from both sides, but after Ealing Trailfinders weathered 20 minutes of Bedford Blues dominating possession and territory they eventually broke free of their half to take the lead and control the remainder of the match.

The result means Ben Ward’s side stay fourth in the Greene King IPA Championship and in the play-off places.

The opening 10 minutes were pock-marked by basic errors by both teams, but once the match settled down it was Ealing Trailfinders who opened the scoring when Aaron Penberthy knocked over a penalty after the pack had put the squeeze on their opponents at a scrum.

As both teams began to find their stride Miles Mantella made an important interception to stop a Blues overlap from being exploited. Nonetheless fly-half Miles Dorrian kicked them level with his first penalty of the day.

Penberthy responded with his second penalty to restore the lead after a number of carries from the pack forced Bedford into offending. They then enjoyed a good five-minute period on the Blues’ line, but the home side’s defence held strong to repel the danger.

The hosts showed the threat they pose on the counter as they scored their first try. Piers O’Conor found space to attack out wide, Ed Packman collected O’Conor’s rubber, held off the defence and off-loaded for O’Conor to cross.

Ealing Trailfinders hit back quickly with a try of their own and again the pack was to fore. First came a lineout catch and drive and when the Blues stopped that, first Kieran Murphy and then Mark Bright attacked the line, with the captain breaking through to score by the posts.

Penberthy converted the try and then landed his third penalty to stretch the lead further, but after Bedford built some momentum deep in the visitors half, Dorrian kicked his second penalty.

The Blues continued their attacking intent after the break and good hands from Will Carrick-Smith and Ollie Dodge set fullback Elliot Clements-Hill free to race home.

They continued to enjoy the bulk of possession and territory up to the hour mark, albeit without being able to find their way through the Ealing Trailfinders defence again.

Lewis Jones stopped number 8 Jason Hill on the line and his 14 teammates all dug deep to hold the Blues out. Then when Ealing Trailfinders did break out of their own half Penberthy scored his fourth penalty of the day to restore the visitors lead.

Ealing Trailfinders still had to be on the mettle in defence, but after Aled Jenkins won a turnover, Joe Munro led a counter-attack to set up position close to the Bedford line. It appeared the hosts had averted the danger, but Mantella swooped on a loose pass to race clear for his third try in two matches.

With five minutes to go Penberthy scored his fifth penalty and while he missed a sixth, by then he and his teammates were in full control of proceedings as the clocked ticked to fulltime.

Bedford Blues
Tries (O’Conor 25, Clements-Hill 45), Penalties (Dorrian 15, 38)
Ealing Trailfinders
Tries (Bright 30, Mantella 73), Conversions (Penberthy 30, 75), Penalties (Penberthy 11, 17, 35, 65, 75)

Bedford Blues
Elliot Clement-Hill, Howard Packman, Piers O’Conor, Ollie Dodge, Dean Adamson, Myles Dorrian (captain), Tom Whiteley; Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Dan George, Billy Walker, Jordan Onojaife, Will Carrick-Smith, Paul Tupai, Ben Adams, Jason Hill
Jacob Fields, Camillo Parilli-Ocampo, Ben Cooper, Byron Hodge, Justin Blanchet, Jordan Burns, Jake Sharp

Ealing Trailfinders
Luke Daniels, Miles Mantella, Aled Jenkins, Joe Munro, James Cordy-Redden, Aaron Penberthy, Alex Walker; Will Davis, Alun Walker, Lewis Thiede, Llewelyn Jones, Barney Maddison, Kieran Murphy, Arthur Ellis, Mark Bright (captain)
Matt Cornish, Ignacio Lancuba, Sam Rodman, Harry Casson, Rayn Smid, Josh Davies, Lewis Jones

Referee – Matthew O’Grady
Attendance – 2,094

Ealing Trailfinders maintained their unbeaten run in the British and Irish Cup by securing a draw against Bedford Blues at Goldington Road on Saturday.

Alun Walker scored a hat-trick and Aaron Penberthy added two conversions in a match that was played in heavy rain and which was the first time that Ealing Trailfinders have avoided defeat away to Bedford Blues.

The means that Ben Ward’s team remain top of Pool 5 after Yorkshire Carnegie failed to take all five points on offer from their match at home to the Dragons Premiership Select XV.

Ealing Trailfinders have now won twice and drawn once and top the pool with 11 points, one more than Carnegie, who they face in their final pool match on Sunday 22 January at Scarborough RFC.

The match started well for the visitors and they quickly grabbed a 14-point lead after the first of Walker’s tries.

His first came from the back of a driven lineout and his second arrived soon after when he finished off a series of drives from the pack close to the posts.

Penberthy kicked both conversions, but Bedford Blues began to find their rhythm as the half wore on and they opened their scoring when Elliott Clements-Hill powered over from a driven lineout.

Debutant Glen Townson was involving himself in the thick of the forward-oriented action and made a number of important interventions to stop the Bedford Blues’ forwards from building momentum.

Nonetheless Jake Sharp added two penalties to his conversion to mean that the hosts were only a point behind at half-time.

Walker completed his hat-trick early in the second half by rounding off another attacking foray from the Ealing Trailfinders’ forwards.

Myles Dorrian closed the deficit again with another penalty and then drew the home team level with his second soon after.

Both teams continued to push for the win and Will Harries made an important intervention to stop Tom James’ kick ahead, before Oli Dodge knocked on as the match drew to a close.

Next Saturday Bedford Blues make the return journey to Vallis Way for the fourth round of matches in the British and Irish Cup.

Bedford Blues
Tries (Clements-Hill), Conversions (Sharp) Penalties (Sharp x 2, Dorrian x 2)
Ealing Trailfinders
Tries (Alun Walker x 3), Conversions (Penberthy x 2)

Bedford Blues
Matt Gallagher, George Perkins, Tom Farrell, Ollie Dodge, Elliot Clement-Hill Jake Sharp, Jordan Burns; Camilo Parilli-Ocampo, Dan George, Billy Walker, Will Carrick-Smith, Byron Hodge, Ed Taylor (captain), Ben Adams, Jason Hill
Charley Robinson, Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Chris Judge, Paul Tupai, Tom James, Myles Dorrian, Josh Buggea

Ealing Trailfinders
Harries, Cordy-Redden, Jones, Peters, Chesters, Penberthy, Carter; Gibbons, Walker, Penny, Casson, Townson, Bradley, Nagle-Taylor, Ryan (captain)
Lawrence, Davis, Rodman, Preocanin, Jenkins, Davies, Ward

Referee – Adam Lille
Attendance – 1,707