Ealing Trailfinders survived a late second-half comeback, as they secured a 31-40 victory away at Bedford Blues.
At one point the visitors were 12-33 in front, but Bedford cut loose in the final 20 and managed to bring it the score back to 31-33 with six minutes to go.
But a late score from the league’s top scorer Carlo Tizzano, helped the league leaders maintain their six point lead at the top, and also end Bedford’s unbeaten home record this season.
It was a game where the Trailfinders flew out of the blocks, with Alun Walker marauding down the right touchline before getting the ball back inside to Luke Daniels who dotted down after two minutes. The winger, who was given the kicking duties for the afternoon, impressively converted from the touchline to get the visitors off to the perfect start.
Bedford then responded quickly however. First they dotted down from close range, before then getting their second on the quarter of an hour mark after an exciting passage of play saw them take advantage of an overlap.
Now with the momentum against them, Trailfinders went back to their basics which saw them grab a quick fire double of their own.
First Craig Hampson sold an outrageous dummy from close range to muscle over after a powerful rolling maul had come up just short. Then with five minutes left of the first half, a wayward kick to Jonah Holmes saw the fullback cut free. The Welshman spotted a gap in the defensive line, and despite being tap-tackled, managed to get back to his feet before offloading to Andrew Davidson. The second-row then released Simon Uzokwe, and the number eight put on the afterburners to run in from 30 metres out. Daniels converted both scores to make it Bedford Blues 12-21 Ealing Trailfinders at the break.
The second 40 started in very similar fashion to the first, Trailfinders scoring early. It took just four minutes for Walker to muscle over on the back of a powerful rolling maul, as the visitors grabbed the bonus point after just 44 minutes.
Throughout the afternoon, Trailfinders had some serious scrum dominance, and on the 55th minute, the referee ran out of patience as he sent the Bedford prop to the bin. Instantly they made the extra numbers pay, as they worked the ball from right to left, tying in the defenders and making space for Max Bodilly to score in the corner.
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With 20 minutes to go and the score being 12-33, Trailfinders should have cruised to victory, but Bedford had other ideas. Dean Adamson and Michael Le Bourgeois went over either side of a Cian Kelleher yellow card to make it 24-33. Then with the game entering the final stages, Jake Garside grabbed the visitors’ fifth to make it a two point game with six minutes to go.
Trailfinders could have then been shell shocked after this rapid comeback from the hosts, but they regrouped and slowly reasserted their dominance. After repeated penalties, Tizzano crashed over with three minutes to play to ensure the victory and see them return to Ealing with all five points.
It was a performance the whole team can be proud of, but it was a particularly proud day for George Davis, as the tighthead not only dominated the scrum, but he also made his 50th appearance for the club and was presented with his cap after the game.
Ealing Trailfinders next home fixture is against Caldy on Saturday 15th April (KO 3pm). Click here to purchase tickets.