Ealing Trailfinders v Bedford Blues
Bedford came up short in their second pre-season friendly at Vallis Way on Saturday as hosts Ealing Trailfinders won 34-25.
Ealing put six tries past Bedford on the 3G pitch in west London, in a game which saw a lot of free flowing rugby.
Blues kicked off the clash and immediately pressed Ealing, England U20 winger Nathan Earle making a good tackle to keep the hosts in their half.
Then director of coaching and Ealing number 10 for the afternoon, Ben Ward, was caught offside but Steffan Jones couldn’t get Bedford off the mark from the tee.
The Green and Whites surprised Blues with their power in the scrum five minutes in but as they tried to get out their half, back rowers Ben Gulliver and Eoin Sheriff were putting in some good hits to keep them at bay.
Ealing kept up their intensity though and earned themselves a 5m lineout, Mike Walker-Fitton took the throw well and after Blues brought the maul down, Josh Buggea was sinbinned.
The hosts powerfully drove the 5m scrum over the line for Tom Brown to touch down, Matt Jarvis couldn’t convert but the Trailfinders were off the mark.
Ealing could have got their second a few minutes later after pushing Blues right back to their try line, but they passed to touch after having an overlap on the opposing wing.
Blues took the lineout but a cheeky bounce saw flanker Alex Bradley snatch the ball and double the lead.
Ealing looked like they were going to go on and do the business but moments later, Blues got organised and found debutant Nathan Earle down the right, he swiftly got in for Bedford’s first though Jones couldn’t add the two.
After 20 minutes Ealing worked a driving maul, this time Walker-Fitton dived over as the maul broke down, he simply picked up the ball and it was easy for him.
The wind wasn’t helping with the conversions but when Bedford won a penalty bang in front of the sticks, Jones called for the tee and added three to make it 15-8.
Ealing hit straight back down the left, Tom Parker found himself gathering from the break down and ran in, this time Ben Ward added the extras.
Trailfinders took the next scrum but were stopped in their tracks by Earle, and when Eoin Sheriff tackled well, Bedford nearly got a turnover but Ealing scrambled well.
They came into Bedford’s half and looked strong but Henry Staff was able to intercept, Bedford came at Ealing with Veenedaal and Earle linking well but once more Ealing held.
After the next scrum collapsed however and Bedford got the decision, Blues managed to kick through Jones to get a lineout just outside the hosts 22 and they had momentum.
Blues strung lots of phases together and when Ealing lock Carwyn Jones came in from the side at the maul, Bedford kicked themselves closer and then took a leaf out of Ealing’s book by driving the maul.
Fenton Wells was able to get the score in the corner but Jones couldn’t notch the conversion, after the kick the half wrapped up 22-13.
Blues came out firing in the second half and grabbed a score through Eoin Sheriff and as Jones notched the conversion, the gap was reduced to two.
They came again but this time Carwyn Jones fouled once more, as he came in at the side, he got sent to the bin.
Blues wasted no time of the man advantage, Paul Tupai dived over to but the visitors in the lead, replacement Jake Sharp this time had kicking duties but he was also unsuccessful.
Blues had the lead but once Carwyn Jones returned to play, the home side rallied and stepped up a gear.
Just after the hour mark, Ben Ward sent a great grubber through the blues line for Ronnie McClean to latch on to, Ward converted also to make it 29-25.
Blues tried desperately to get back into it but with 10 left on the clock, winger Chris Kinloch was on the end of some lucky passes, suddenly Ealing led 34-25.
Ealing continued pushing late on but couldn’t add further as the game came to a close, Bedford perhaps overdid it and were ill disciplined early on but in the end the hosts deserved their win.
Ealing: Jamie Kilbane (Kevin Davis, 30), Andrei Radoi, Alex Penny (Ignas Darkintas, 30), Mike Walker-Fitton (Llewelyn Jones, 30), Carwyn Jones, Sean O’Connell, Alex Bradley, Tom Brown (c), Tom Parker, Ben Ward (Morgan Thompson, 70), Sam Wardingley, Andy Reay, Ronnie McLean, Chris Kinloch, Matt Jarvis. T: Tom Brown, Alex Bradley, Mike Walker-Fitton, Tom Parker, Ronnie McClean, Chris Kinloch. C: Ben Ward 2
Replacements: Karl Gibson, Gary Johnson, Danny Kenny, Tom Wheatcroft, James Copsey.
Bedford: Billy Moss (Tom Williams, 45), Jared Saunders, Phil Boulton (Camilo Parilli-Ocampo, 45), Eoin Sheriff, Ben Gulliver (Paul Tupai, 33), Justin Blanchet, Josh Buggea, Nick Fenton-Wells (c) (Joe Vandermolen, 50), Darryl Veenendaal, Steffan Jones (Jake Sharp, 45), Dean Adamson (Pat Tapley, 40), Ollie Dodge, Henry Staff (Micheal Le Bourgeois, 62), Nathan Earle, Jim Wigglesworth (James Pritchard, 46). T: Nathan Earle, Nick Fenton-Wells, Eoin Sheriff, Paul Tupai. P: Steffan Jones. C: Steffan Jones.
Replacements: TJ Harris, Mike Howard, Kennet O’Neill, Kieran Duffin, Steve Ellis.
Referee: Simon Harding