Seven try Trailfinders close on title
The champagne flowed in the Ladies’ Day marquee, but for Ealing the bubbly will have to remain on ice for just a little longer, thanks to Rosslyn Park’s equally emphatic 38-20 victory over Tynedale at the other end of the south circular.
Nevertheless, this comfortable five-point victory keeps the Trailfinders firmly on course for an immediate return to The Championship and it may be to their satisfaction that their goal will likely be achieved a week from now at their Vallis Way home and against their main challengers.
In this contest, Ealing’s open style of play would give Blackheath chances and, despite missing a clutch of experienced players (and fielding debutants Isaac Ajayi and David Kearsey in their back-row) the hosts enjoyed plenty of possession in opposition territory during the opening minutes. An early score might just have unnerved the league-leaders, but it wasn’t until 21 minutes that George Oram’s take of Nik Grier’s line-out throw saw Aston Croall, playing at tight-head, driven across.
By that time Trailfinders’ open-side Arthur Ellis had already crossed in similar fashion, and fly-half Ben Ward had taken advantage of the melée following the mistaken identity which saw Geoff Griffiths yellow carded for a dangerous tackle, to send up a quick crossfield kick for wing Chris Kinloch to latch on to and send outside-centre Sam Wardingley home from 30 metres.
The officials were on poor form again on 23 minutes as Freddie Owen was shoved off the ball to open the way for full-back Will Harries to break from Ealing territory for a third try, but there was no doubt about the fourth as number-eight and skipper Tom Brown touched down from the base of the Trailfinders’ dominant scrum for a 24-7 lead at the break.
Ward wouldn’t see the completion of his team’s afternoon’s work, Ealing’s unfortunate player-coach dislocating an ankle prior to half-time and taken to hospital, though he won’t have been troubled to miss a scrappy third quarter with his side continually penalised at the breakdown.
However, spilt possession saw inside-centre Andy Reay resume the visitors’ scoring on the hour, Harries adding his second soon after as ball was moved wide, before Blackheath interrupted the flow with their best period of continuity for Griffiths to dive over in the right corner.
Apart from their tries, the biggest cheer from the home support had come in the very first minute when Ryan Squires’ fine tackle had denied Ealing left-wing Phil Chesters. But the league’s most successful finisher would enjoy the last word as he cantered across from a set-scrum move for his 33rd try of the season, completing Blackheath’s heaviest home defeat for ten years, and leaving his side requiring just two points from two games to clinch promotion.
Next Saturday, Blackheath make their final away trip of the National League One campaign when they travel to third-placed Coventry, before their final game at home to Fylde on 25th April.
Tries: Croall, Griffiths
Tries: Ellis, Wardingley, Harries 2, Brown, Reay, Chesters
Conv: Ward, Daniels 4
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