Ealing Trailfinders 1871 1st XV win over St Albans 46 – 22

Ealing Trailfinders 1871 scored eight tries to condemn St Albans to relegation along with Hendon, but in a mixed performance conceded four, despite finishing the season with the league’s best defensive record. After a lapse in the second quarter of the game, they regathered and largely owed the size of the winning margin to a hat-trick of tries by fly-half Harry Vidler.

Playing with the advantage of a stiff breeze, it took Ealing just 4 minutes to open the scoring with a fine break by Harrison Slater. A burst of speed by centre and captain Lewis Steadman took him under the posts on 18 minutes, and a third try followed within two minutes, with Slater finishing well on the left wing to double his tally before departing with a dislocated shoulder. Starting the day with a 2-point advantage over Barnet Elizabethans to avoid the second relegation spot, St Albans battled hard, but Ealing moved further ahead with a try by Kavan ‘Dove Man’ Fitzpatrick following powerful runs by hooker Leo Codrington-Lambert and 2nd row Noah Stewart. Rather than maintaining their focus, 1871 then lost their way for the rest of the first period, conceding two tries, which led to a stern talking-to at half time.

Whatever was said worked, because almost immediately from the re-start Vidler created an overlap on the left wing and finished in the corner. A few minutes later Ealing were penalised with centre Jack Hobbs sent to the sin bin. With the possibility of a 4-try bonus uppermost in their minds, St Albans tapped but lost the ball on contact and an injection of pace took the ball into the visitors’ 22, where Vidler took a scoring pass. After a third Vidler try, replacement wing Danny O’Sullivan fielded a defensive kick, made the ball available and was on hand to finish off the move himself after a powerful run by Hobbs. St Albans managed two more tries in the final minutes, which proved to be in vain when news came through that Barnet had squeezed past Harrow to keep their place in the league.

Summing up the game, captain Lewis Steadman, who suffered a late groin injury that may keep him out of Papa Johns Cup action, said: “A frustrating performance today. It was disappointing to see how we took the foot off the gas and allowed the opposition to get a foothold in the game. Having said that, it’s all good lessons to take forward into the cup which begins next week and beyond.”

Next Saturday, 13 April Ealing 1871 travel to Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex in the first round of the Counties 2 Championship section of the Papa Johns Cup.


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