Greene King IPA Championship newcomers Ealing Trailfinders took on National 2 South side Hartpury College in their 1st pre-season game before they start a new life in the Championship. The game was played in three thirds of thirty minutes giving both sides an opportunity to swap and change their players around and giving their new recruits a chance to shine.
It was the home side who made the strong start and after multiple phases the ball was worked left to right before winger Joe Southwell touched down under the posts. Fly half Ben Ward converted the try and Ealing led 7-0. The home side were beginning to dominate possession spreading the ball at every available opportunity. This eventually resulted in another try as centre Chris Kinloch crossed over the whitewash down the left hand touchline. The conversion was unsuccessful from Ward. Within a few minutes Ealing were over again as winger Southwell grabbed his 2nd try of the match. Again the conversion was missed by the number 10 Ben Ward. That was the final act of the 1st third.
The 2nd third continued in same fashion as the 1st as the home side attempted to run the ball at every opportunity and with that they scored their 4th try of the match with a great length of the field try that was converted by outside half Ben Ward. Hartpury was making some decent inroads into the Ealing half put lacked the composure and clinical edge to finish off their opportunities. With that Ealing scored their 5th try of the match through number eight Alex Bradley who picked up the ball at the base of a 5m scrum and powered his way over the line. The try was converted and they led 31-0. Ealing were continuing to show their class and after turning the ball over deep in their 22 they ran the length of the field for winger Ronnie McLean to score the try. It was again converted and they extended their lead out to 38-0. If you thought that was the end of the running rugby then think again as the home side turned the ball over again in their 22 and ran the length of the field to score a brilliant try. It was unconverted but the home side had extended their lead out to 43-0. With that the referee brought an end to the 2nd third and Ealing led 43-0.
Once again Ealing made a very fast start to the third session as they scored yet another try which was not converted by Tom Wheatcroft who had taken over the kicking duties. This took the score out to 48-0. Only minutes later Ealing scored their final try of the match through winger Joe Southwell who added to his growing tally of tries for the day. The try was converted by Tom Wheatcroft and the home side left 55-0. The visitors fought bravely right throughout the match but just lacked that clinical edge to finish off opportunities. However their hard work paid off as they scored their 1st try of the game through winger Cameron Roberts who went over in the corner from a scrum in midfield. The try was unconverted but just a minute later Roberts went over the whitewash again for his 2nd try after a brilliant Hartpury counter attack. This time the try was converted by replacement fly half Thompson. With that the final whistle was blown by the referee.
It was a very clinical performance by the home side who ran out comprehensive winners. Hartpury gave it all but ultimately came up short against a well drilled Championship side. It was a brave performance by a very young Hartpury side. Both teams have promising seasons ahead of them with the away side being a dominant force in National 2 South and Ealing coming into the Championship for the first time.
FULL TIME: EALING 55-12 HARTPURY COLLEGE