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Match report: Ealing Trailfinders 59 : Bedford Blues 12

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.

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