Ealing Trailfinders ended the Greene King IPA Championship season with a 33-12 defeat to London Irish after a dramatic match at the Madejski Stadium.

Ben Ward’s men were unfortunate to be on the end of a misleading result after creating a number of opportunities which could have seen an entirely different scoreboard.

The hosts made the perfect start and went in front after just two minutes with a try from Brendan Macken. A loose clearance gave Irish front foot ball, and after Albert Tuisue broke the line he passed wide to the centre who beat the last defender to score in the corner. Jacob Atkins converted from the touchline to give them a 7-0 advantage.

Irish continued their dominant start and scored their second try with 10 minutes on the clock to go further ahead. A long kick gave Alivereti Veitokani acres of space, and he raced away from 60 metres to score an impressive try as the home crowd continued to celebrate. The conversion went wide but the Champions held a 12 point lead in the opening stages.

The Trailfinders then woke up and scored a brilliant try to get back in to the match. A penalty was kicked in to the 22 and after going through the phases the ball spun to Reon Joseph who broke through three defenders and dotted down to get the visitors on the scoreboard. Peter Lydon added the conversion to cut the deficit to just five points.

Joseph, who has been in sensational form then went just inches away from bringing his side level. Once more he stepped past four Irish players as he entered the 22, but he was brought down just short and then an ambitious pass found touch as the hosts escaped.

Irish were forced to absorb plenty of pressure from the Trailfinders for the remainder of the first half, but after shutting the visitors out they extended their lead with another opportunistic try. Topsy Ojo entered the 22 and an overlap opened up on the left hand side, allowing him to pass to Albert Tuisue who dived over the line. Atkins again converted as the lead went back up to 12 points.

Then came a crucial moment just before the break as Ward’s men put themselves right back in contention. Teofilo Paulo was sent to the sin-bin for the hosts, and they were punished with a try in the final play of the half. A set move from the back of a lineout created some space back on the short side, and Laurence May fizzed a perfect pass to Segundo Tuculet who crept over in the corner. The conversion went just wide, but the Trailfinders were now just seven behind as the half time whistle blew.

The Trailfinders kept up the momentum early in the second half and went close to drawing level straight away. From the top of a lineout the ball was spun to Laurence May who kicked over the top to Segundo Tuculet. The centre drew in the final defender and had Rayn Smid on the inside but his pass was agonisingly forward and the referee gave Irish the put-in.

Ben Landry then made a barn-storming run as he pounced on Max Davies’ pass and charged towards the line, but the frustration grew as from the resulting phase a knock on let Irish off the hook once again.

Against the run of play Irish then proved how clinical they can be with a try on the hour mark to regain control of the match. As the Trailfinders looked to play out of their own 22 a mix up saw the ball pop out from a collision, and it bounced up for Matt Williams who showed his footballing skills to kick ahead and score. The conversion from Atkins took their lead up to 14 points.

Ward’s men refused to lie down and were next on the scoreboard, but it was disallowed in what was the match deciding moment. Max Davies was able to bundle over to score his first try for the club from close range, but we came back for an earlier infringement which saw Harry Casson red carded and the try was chalked off.

The Trailfinders continued to battle bravely but Irish ended strongly with the advantage of an extra man, and Fergus Mulchrone wrapped up the win after going over from the base of a scrum to score. Stephen Myler’s conversion put their lead up to 33-12, and from the kick off they smashed the ball out to confirm their victory before the trophy presentation.

The two teams meet again next weekend in the Championship Cup Final at Trailfinders Sports Club in what promises to be another huge occasion, tickets are still available and can be purchased by clicking this link.

London Irish:

15 Alivereti Veitokani, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Fergus Muclhrone (c), 11 Matt Williams, 10 Jacob Atkins, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 1 Harry Elrington, 2 Motu Matu’u, 3 Pat Cilliers, 4 Barney Maddison, 5 Teofilo Paulo, 6 Albert Tuisue, 7 Conor Gilsenan, 8 Matt Rogerson


16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Lovejoy Chawatama, 18 Manasa Saulo, 19 Sebastian de Chaves, 20 Jake Schatz, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Stephen Myler


Tries: Brendan Macken (2 minutes) Alivereti Veitokani (10 minutes) Albert Tuisue (30 minutes) Matt Williams (60 minutes) Fergus Mulchrone (80 minutes)

Conversions: Jacob Atkins (2, 30, 60 minutes) Stephen Myler (80 minutes)

Yellow Card: Teofilo Paulo

Ealing Trailfinders:

15 Peter Lydon (replaced by Howard Packman, 60 mins) 14 Reon Joseph 13 Segundo Tuculet 12 Lewis Jones (replaced by Ben Williams, 60 mins) 11 Seb Stegmann 10 Laurence May 9 Ryan Foley 1 Jack O’Connell (replaced by Matt Beesley, 60 mins) 2 Matt Cornish (replaced by Alun Walker, 70 mins) 3 Ben Betts 4 Ben Landry (replaced by Harry Casson, 55 mins) 5 Tom Denton (c) 6 Max Davies 7 George Edgson (replaced by Rayn Smid, 10 mins) 8 Will Safe


16 Alun Walker 17 Matt Beesley 18 Elliot Millar Mills 19 Harry Casson 20 Rayn Smid 21 Ben Williams 22 Howard Packman


Tries: Reon Joseph (15 minutes) Segundo Tuculet (40 minutes)

Conversions: Peter Lydon (15 minutes)

Red Card: Harry Casson

Match Officials:

Referee: Christophe Ridley

Assistant Referees: Neil Chivers & Gareth Holsgrove

Fourth Official:

Television Match Official: Sean Davey

Half Time Score: London Irish 19 – 12 Ealing Trailfinders

Man of the Match: Alivereti Veitokani

Ealing Trailfinders left the Majeski Stadium empty-handed after a tough encounter against Greene King IPA Championship promotion favourites London Irish.

Willie Ryan and Matt Cornish scored Ealing Trailfinders’ tries, but the Exiles’ showed why they are tipped for an immediate return to the Aviva Premiership by running in two tries in each half to claim all five points on offer.

Ealing Trailfinders kicked off and enjoyed the first few minutes in the Exiles’ half before fullback James Marshall cleared the danger.

Jerry Sexton then pinched a line-out which gave Irish the chance to attack and after they brought the ball back from left to right Ben Ramson was set free to go over in the corner.

The Exiles continued to dominate, but despite trying to attack with a rolling maul they were unable to find the cohesion and Ealing Trailfinders’ defence held out. Eventually the hosts’ pressure told and Tommy Bell stretched their lead further with a simple penalty kick.

James Cordy-Redden and Phil Chesters nearly broke through the Irish defence after the wing had taken advantage of a good bounce from Cordy-Redden’s clearance. The Exiles’ line held, but Ealing Trailfinders maintained their pressure and from a line-out Ryan peeled round to crash over in the corner.

Bell knocked over his second penalty as half-time drew near and just before the whistle flanker Joe Trayfoot found a yard of space to finish off a move by the corner flag.

After the initial exchanges of the second half, London Irish seized the upper hand and Sexton and former Ealing Trailfinders loanee Richard Palframan both broke the visitor’s line. However, Ealing Trailfinders’ scramble defence held out and eventually won a penalty that allowed the defence to clear and catch their breath.

The Exiles quickly went back on the attack though and after ex-England wing Topsy Ojo broke the Ealing Trailfinders line the ball ended up with former Wellington Hurricanes fullback Marshall, who wiggled through to score.

Cordy-Redden and Chesters again teamed up to pressure the Irish defence in their 22, but again the Exiles rear guard stood firm. They then continued to hold the hosts in their 22 for some time, but without breaching their tryline.

As the match wore on Irish wrapped up their four-try bonus point when replacement Scott Steele scampered over from close range.

The visitors had the final word though. Callum Wilson set Will Harries running and while he was stopped on the line, hooker Cornish followed up to seize possession and score.

Ealing Trailfinders are back in action at Vallis Way next Saturday, 1 October, when Doncaster Knights visit for a 3pm kick off.

London Irish
Tries (Ransom 4, Trayfoot 40, Marshall 56, Steele 78), Conversions (Bell 4, 56, Marshall 78), Penalties (Bell 19, 36)
Ealing Trailfinders
Tries (Ryan 32, Cornish 80), Conversions (Ward 32)

London Irish
James Marshall, Topsy Ojo, Aseli Tikoirotuma, Fergus Mulchrone, Ben Ransom, Tommy Bell, Darren Allinson; Tom Court, Gerard Ellis, Richard Palframan, Jerry Sexton, Sebastian De Chaves, Joe Trayfoot, Max Northcote-Green, Luke Narraway (captain)
David Paice, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Ollie Hoskins, Will Lloyd, Mike Coman, Scott Steele, Tom Fowlie

Ealing Trailfinders
Will Harries, Rhys Crane, James Cordy-Redden, Luke Peters, Phil Chesters, Ben Wards, Alex Walker; Will Davis, Matt Cornish, Alex Penny, Scott Andrews, Llewelyn Jones, Chris York (captain), Arthur Ellis, Willie Ryan
Rhys Lawrence, James Gibbons, Sam Rodman, Carwyn Jones, Harry Casson, Luke Carter, Callum Wilson

Referee – Matthew O’Grady
Attendance – 3,337