Ealing Trailfinders capped off their Championship winning campaign in style with a 59-12 rout of fourth placed Bedford Blues.

A hat-trick of tries from Reuben Bird-Tulloch, two from Angus Kernohan and scores from Simon Uzokwe, Cam Terry, Tom Collins and Frankie Sleightholme wrapped up the 2023-24 season in perfect fashion.

Uzokwe opened the scoring for the home side nine minutes in, crashing over the line after sustained pressure inside the Bedford 22. Dan Lancaster converted.

The hat-trick hero and man of the match Bird-Tulloch then extended the lead 10 minutes later after some slick hands in midfield allowed him to score untouched. Lancaster added the extras.

Bedford hit back through Joe Howard off the rolling maul on their third visit to the redzone, having knocked on the previous two times. Maisey missed the conversion.

The departing Lancaster signed off with a classy performance, epitomised by his use of the boot as he sent a delightful cross-field kick into Kernohan, who, despite being taken out in the air, ploughed through two defenders to score in the right-hand corner.

Straight off the kick-off Trailfinders were in again, as Bird-Tulloch notched his second try of the day through some brilliant hands again in midfield. Lancaster’s conversion was good.

Making matters worse for the away side, Luke Frost was sent to the sinbin for back chat to the referee just before the interval.

Starting off the second half just as they had finished the first, further infringements by the Blues reduced them to 13 players for the next five minutes, as Dean Adamson was carded for a deliberate knock on.

Trailfinders levelled the playing field however, as Frankie Sleightholme was also sent to the sinbin for an illegal tackle.

The home side, jubilant in their successful campaign, decided to pull some tricks out of the bag, as Lancaster fooled the entirety of Vallis Way with a cross-field kick off a penalty into Kernohan, who dotted down completely unchallenged.

Bedford scored their second and final try of the day through Sean French, whose slicing line carved straight through the Trailfinders defence to dot down under the posts. Maisey converted.

The Trailfinders rolling maul has been unstoppable all season, and it proved that way again 60 minutes in as Cam Terry crashed over the whitewash. Lancaster added the extras.

Bedford then found themselves down to 14 players again as Sean French was this time sent to the sinbin for a tip tackle.

The home side took full advantage of this through Tom Collins, after supporters’ player of the season Matt Cornish won the ball back inside the Bedford 22, and some quick hands fed in Collins for a clinical finish. Lancaster added the conversion.

Bird-Tulloch completed his hat-trick 71 minutes in after phase play broke down, parting the seas for him to cruise in untouched again. Lancaster’s excellent day from the boot continued.

The game, and a sensational season, was concluded rather fittingly by a brilliant try on debut from Sleightholme, who found himself in a 2 on 1 with Tom Collins down the left to score Trailfinders’ ninth try of the day. Lancaster’s effort from the boot was good again, leaving the final score 59-12.

Trailfinders Women’s final home game of the season ended in the narrowest of defeats, losing 18-19 to Loughborough Lightning in their PWR clash at TFSC.

Tries from Abby Dow, Vicky Laflin and two Ellie Green penalties left Trailfinders just short against a tough Loughborough side, despite their phenomenal efforts.

A remarkably long opening phase of play lead to Lightning’s first try, as back and forth possession forced the away side to attack with width, resulting in a try from Laura Keates.

Trailfinders hit back through Red Rose superstar Abby Dow, using her lightning pace to score down the left flank, after an excellently retrieved box kick by Megan Barwick set the home side up in great territory.

Ellie Green then put Trailfinders ahead from the tee after successive Loughborough infringements 18 minutes in.

Lightning were further penalised seven minutes later, this time for not rolling away just outside their 22, and Green’s kick at goal rattled off the posts and over to make it 11-7.

Loughborough then thought they had retrieved the lead shortly after, as some fluid play orchestrated by Emily Scarratt had them over the line, but it was called back for a knock on.

In answer to this close call, Trailfinders responded with some spectacular rugby to extend their lead to 11 points.

The move began with Dow, whose chase off Ella Amory’s excellent box-kick was nothing short of perfect, and with some quick ball out, Green put in a delightful cross-field kick into Laflin on the right, who burst away to score. Green’s conversion was good.

Loughborough’s rolling maul began to prove a problem for the home side, as they found out three minutes later through Kathryn Treder, who bundled over the whitewash to leave the score 18-12 at the break.

The start to the second half was a tense affair, with both sides probing but unable to capitalise.

They say lightning never strikes twice, but in Loughborough’s case it did 55 minutes in as Treder scored off the rolling maul again for her second of the day. Scarratt converted to take the lead.

The remainder of the game was back and forth, with mistakes denying both sides from fulfilling their attacking potential.

Loughborough managed to grind the game out in the closing stages, putting up solid defence and penning Trailfinders inside their own 22 before time ran out, leaving the final score 18-19.

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Trailfinders Women’s return to PWR action following the Women’s Six Nations ended in a tough defeat, losing 40-10 to Exeter Chiefs Women at TFSC.

Two late tries from Abby Dow ensured the home side did not endure a whitewash from the rampant Chiefs.

Exeter opened the scoring 12 minutes in through Irish international Cliodnha Moloney, crashing over the line off the rolling maul after successive Trailfinders penalties. Robyn Wilkins converted.

A smart Wilkins 50-22 put the Chiefs in excellent position again just three minutes later, which they fully capitalised on through Maisy Allen as she was the next beneficiary off of the powerful Chiefs rolling maul.

In a tough half for the home side, Rosie Inman looked the most dangerous threat as she burst through midfield with a quick inside step thirty minutes in, but the move broke down a few phases later.

Things went from bad to worse for Trailfinders after the break as Elisa Riffonneau was sent to the sinbin, and it only took one phase for Exeter to take advantage through Wilkins, who burst through a gap in the line 10 metres out to score. She converted her own try.

Three minutes later Chiefs were in again as they continued to make use of their player advantage, this time through Eilidh Sinclair as she cruised in unopposed down the right flank off a looping pass.

Riffonneau had barely returned to the fray before Thea Sylvester was sinbinned for collapsing the maul

Again, the Chiefs pulled the hampered Trailfinders apart as Moloney got her second of the day in the exact same fashion as her first, crashing over the whitewash off the rolling maul.

The numbers evened up after Harriet Millar-Mills was the next player to be sinbinned, but Trailfinders did little with it.

Exeter scored their sixth and final try of the day through Niamh Orchard, after some brilliant flowing hands off a breakaway set up Orchard five metres out, and she outstretched her arm to dot down on the line.

Two moments of brilliance from the unbelievable Dow ensured Trailfinders got points on the scoreboard, both in quite similar fashion.

The first came from a break down the left creating a two on one, and when Dow is in the beneficial position of receiving the ball on the wing there was no way she was not scoring.

Not satisfied with that one try, Trailfinders turned over the Exeter scrum on their 22, and quickly dispatched the ball out to Dow who burst through the line and cruised into score in the last play of the game.

 

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Ealing Trailfinders took complete control of their Championship title destiny with an emphatic 57-14 victory over an in-form Amphtill at Trailfinders Sports Club.

It took the league leaders only two minutes to lay down their marker, as heavy pressure inside the Ampthill 5-metre line allowed Matt Cornish to dive on a charged down box kick and give Trailfinders the lead.

The home side then extended their lead four minutes later through James Cordy-Redden, who ran a hard support line off scrum-half Craig Hampson to crash over the line.

A bizarre try got Ampthill back into the game, as ex-Trailfinders Academy player Brandon Jackson grubber kicked the ball twice to himself down the left flank to then set up Tom Bacon to score under the posts.

It did not take long for Trailfinders hit back however through Craig Willis, who sold the Ampthill defence with a dummy and then spun his way over the line from five metres out.

Willis then turned from scorer to provider as Trailfinders secured the bonus point 27 minutes in, making a brilliant breakaway on the halfway line as he sold the defence with a dummy again, to then pass inside to Dan O’Brien for an easy finish.

Ampthill emerged from the interval the more positive side, and they reduced the deficit through some classy work from Jackson again, who broke down the left with a burst of pace and delivered a delightful pass inside to Charlie Bracken for a simple score.

Trailfinders quashed the brief resurgence however through Richard Hardwick, crashing over the line off the back of the rolling maul.

With Ampthill unable to stop the powerful rolling maul, Mike Willemse then emulated Hardwick’s try ten minutes later to make it 38-14.

Relentless in attack, the home side continued to add on the tries, scoring their seventh through Rayn Smid, powering over the line on the right-hand side.

Next up to score was Cian Kelleher, using his remarkable pace to round the defence in the left-hand corner and dot down following a tremendous Barney Maddison breakaway.

Rounding off the game in style, Lloyd Williams finished off a well-worked team move that had two impressive offloads down the left flank to leave the final score 57-14.

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Trailfinders Women put in a brilliant performance in their return to action as they beat Leicester Tigers Women 54-5 in their Allianz Cup clash at TFSC.

A hat-trick of tries from Abi Burton and scores from Lindelwa Gwala, Shya Pinnock, Rosie Inman, Liz Musgrove and Emma Swords secured a finish of at least 8th in the competition.

Trailfinders started the game off strongly and got on the scoreboard eight minutes in through Gwala, as she crashed over the whitewash off the rolling maul. Ellie Green’s conversion was good.

Pinnock was next to get on the scoresheet as she powered her way over the line, after a brilliant kick in behind by Green into Liz Musgrove put Trailfinders in great attacking territory. Green added the extras.

Tigers then answered back with 25 minutes on the clock through Zoë Evans as she burst down the left wing to score following some swift hands in the midfield. The conversion was unsuccessful.

Whilst Trailfinders were the better side throughout, it was not until the second half that they showed how good a team they are, running in six tries.

Burton scored the first of her hattrick of tries three minutes into the second half, as she drove her way over from five metres out after Pinnock had made a brilliant breakaway through the Tigers defence. Green’s conversion was successful.

The rampant Trailfinders scored again seven minutes later via a brilliant solo try from Inman, who ran coast to coast to dot down after some slick hands left her in space on the right wing. Green’s conversion clattered back off the post.

The tries kept coming as Green continued to use her boot to exploit the space in behind the Tigers defence, setting up Musgrove for an easy score in the corner only three minutes later. Green’s conversion was successful.

Swords added her name to the scoresheet after sustained pressure left Trailfinders just outside the Tigers try line, which she took full advantage of with a brilliant snipe finish under the posts. The conversion was good.

The Team GB 7’s star Burton finished the game off with two tries in quick succession to complete her hat-trick.

With just under ten minutes to go, Burton burst through the Tigers defence on the halfway line and could not be stopped, cruising her way through to score the home side’s seventh try. Green nailed the conversion.

Not content with two tries, Burton broke through the Tigers defence again after a great run from player of the match Megan Barwick, who popped the ball up for Burton to score. Green’s seventh conversion from eight left the final score 54-5.

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Ealing Trailfinders managed to stifle a strong second half resurgence as they ran out 52-35 winners over London Scottish at Trailfinders Sports Club.

 

The home side topped fifty points through eight different scorers, with Matt Cornish, Jordan Holgate, Bobby De Wee, Craig Willis, Biyi Alo, Jonah Holmes, Ollie Newman and Reuben Bird-Tulloch all getting on the scoresheet.

 

A derby day bonus point victory ensured that Trailfinders maintained their 10-point lead at the top of the table.

 

Cornish opened the scoring on three minutes as he added to his impressive season try tally, dotting down off the back of a rolling maul. Willis added the extras.

 

Trailfinders then quickly extended their lead nine minutes later as the debutant Holgate cruised in to score under the posts, having been teed up by a delightful inside pass from Holmes. Willis converted again.

 

The early first half onslaught continued through De Wee, who used his large frame to crash over the whitewash after successive phases inside Scottish’s 22. Willis’ conversion was good.

 

Just when it was looking to be a drubbing for the away side, scrum-half Dan Nutton hit back with a well-worked team try to score under the posts. Sheppard converted.

 

The action continued at a frantic pace, with Trailfinders then scoring again through Willis, as he saw a gap in the Scottish line and darted his way over, leaving the score 26-7 at half time.

 

London Scottish came out raring to go after the half and struck with two quickfire tries within five minutes.

 

Fly-half Harry Sheppard scored and converted his own try as Scottish exploited gaps within the Trailfinders defence, with Nutton scoring his second of the day in similar fashion two minutes later. Sheppard converted both.

 

A disconcerted Trailfinders side steadied themselves as they know best, with Alo scoring off the rolling maul after repeated Scottish penalties. Willis nailed the conversion.

 

Sustaining this momentum, they extended the lead through Holmes after a well-worked move down the right flank, as he shrugged off the last man to score under the posts. Willis added the two points.

 

Scottish would just not lie down however, scoring through Will Brown and Bryn Bradley as they continued to exploit holes in the Trailfinders line, reducing the deficit to just three points. Sheppard’s perfect day with the boot continued for both.

 

It wasn’t enough however, as the home side crushed the Scottish resistance with two unanswered tries through Newman and Bird-Tulloch, leaving the final score 52-35.

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Trailfinders Women lost 38-10 to Bristol Bears Women in their PWR clash at TFSC.

Tries from Cristina Blanco and Vicky Laflin were not enough on a tough outing under the lights, which leaves Trailfinders Women seventh in the PWR table.

The home side opened the scoring from a brilliant one-two move off the lineout which left Cristina Blanco free to cruise over the line in the corner. The conversion was missed.

Bristol hit back as they capitalised on successive Trailfinders penalties, with Gwenllian Pyrs crashing over the whitewash off the pick and go. Amber Reed added the extras.

Discipline continued to be costly for the home side, and Bristol took full advantage again as Lark Atkin-Davis scored a try off the rolling maul. Reed was unable to convert.

Bears were then reduced to 14 as Hannah Botterman was sent to the sin bin.

Trailfinders Women took full advantage as Julia Schell put in a delightful cross-field kick to Laflin, who used her burst of pace to outrun the last defender and score superbly. The conversion was missed.

Just before the stroke of halftime, Bristol extended their lead through Lark Atkin-Davis again, as she burst through a defender to crash over the line. Reed added the conversion to leave the score 12-19 at the break.

Atkin-Davis started the second half just as she finished the first, this time scoring off the rolling maul for her third of the day. Reed couldn’t add the extras.

The rest of the second half was a cagey affair, with Trailfinders consistently threatening and much the better side, but unable to reduce the deficit.

In the closing stages Bristol scored yet another try off the rolling maul, this time from Lana Skeldon. Meryl Smith’s conversion was successful.

Bristol Bears finished the game off ruthlessly with a try from the last play of the game, as a big breakaway set up the away side on Trailfinders five-metre line, and Skeldon scored her second in a matter of minutes off the pick and go. Smith added the extras to leave the final score 38-10.

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Ealing Trailfinders stamped their authority on a resilient Nottingham side with a 52-26 victory at TFSC.

 

Tries from Billy Twelvetrees, Matt Cornish (3), Biyi Alo, Angus Kernohan and Jonah Holmes secured all five points for the home side to extend their lead at the top of the Championship to 13 points.

 

Twelvetrees opened the scoring with a classy interception, reading the pass with ease inside the Nottingham 22, leaving him free to saunter over the line and dot down under the posts. He converted the extras.

 

The Archers hit back as a looping pass on the Trailfinders five-metre line managed to elude three players and Ryan Olowofela was able to cruise over in the corner. The conversion was missed.

 

Trailfinders’ Richard Hardwick was then sent to the sin bin midway through the first half.

 

Nottingham capitalised on their player advantage through Beltus Nonleh, who bundled over the whitewash having been put in great territory by a slick 50-22 from Ellis Mee. Matt Arden converted.

 

The scoring pendulum swung again as Matt Cornish did what he does best, crashing down over the line off the back of a rolling maul. Twelvetrees missed the conversion.

 

Within a matter of minutes however, the away side retook the lead as Joe Woodward sliced through the Trailfinders line far too easily to score under the posts. Arden converted.

 

With the pendulum failing to halt, the combination of Matt Cornish and a rolling maul resulted in the inevitable just before half time. Twelvetrees missed the conversion to leave the score 17-19 at the break.

 

Jordan Burns ensured the home side started the second half in the ascendancy with an immaculate 50-22, and after successive penalties the referee had no choice but to award a penalty try. With the extras guaranteed, Nottingham were also reduced to 14.

 

Despite their handicap, the Archers spread the ball swiftly across the field, opening space for Dafydd Tiueti to burst down the left flank and dot over the line. Arden’s conversion was good.

 

Trailfinders response was emphatic, with Alo scoring the first five of 28 unanswered points as he bulldozed his way over the line off a stiffened rolling maul. Twelvetrees converted.

 

Cornish secured his hattrick of tries just as he had scored his first two, off the back of the unstoppable Trailfinders rolling maul. Twelvetrees converted again.

 

Trailfinders next try had a bit more flair to it, with both wingers combining beautifully to allow Kernohan to power through a gap in the line and score on his return to TFSC. Twelvetrees nailed the extras.

 

Only on the pitch for a matter of minutes, Holmes was the next beneficiary of some swift hands in the build-up as he was freed down the right flank, using his pace and strength to finish brilliantly in the corner. Twelvetrees maintained his perfect second half from the tee to leave the final score 52-26.

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