Match Reports

Jersey Reds 28 Ealing Trailfinders 27


In another heart-stopping finish at Stade Santander International, the Reds clung on at the finish for a prized win over Ealing Trailfinders.

The visitors went over for their fourth try in the dying moments, leaving Craig Willis the chance to land a tricky conversion from the five-metre line. But the kick was just wide and Ealing had to be content with a brace of bonus points, while the Reds were celebrating their first win over the Londoners since November 2018.

After a first quarter which featured some early pressure from Ealing, but no points, Jersey’s pack created and finished two tries in five minutes. James Hadfield claimed the first after a fine initial thrust by Dan Barnes, with James Dun then crossing after a maul and some pick-and-go thrusts on the opposite side of the pitch.

The Reds’ backs then came to the party as Brendan Owen broke through near halfway and fed Ben Woollett (as pictured top by Rich Chapman), who worked a one-two with Russell Bennett and raced to the line, making good ground towards the posts before touching down.

Ealing did get a foothold on half-time as Sean O’Connor was sin-binned for what was deemed to be foul play at a ruck. The resulting penalty set up an attacking lineout, with Alun Walker finishing at the back of the maul, and the deficit was down to 14.

Before the Reds returned to full strength, the Londoners had struck again soon after the break as Craig Hampson jinked through after a powerful run by Simon Uzokwe. Willis struck a penalty to reduce the deficit to four and then front-row replacements Ross Kane and Kevin O’Byrne combined to send Nathan Earle to the line down the left flank and give their side the lead for the first time (21-22).

Pressure from the Reds brought a yellow card for James Gibbons after multiple penalties were awarded, but the fourth Jersey try didn’t come until after the visitors were back to 15 players.

There was some good impact from the Reds’ bench and two replacements were involved in the home side’s fourth try. With penalty advantage after a scrum on halfway, the attack initially appeared to be going nowhere until Bennett fired a flat pass across to Charlie Powell, who tore upfield. Woollett was on his shoulder and collected a slightly wayward pass behind his left side before continuing upfield. Tackled short of the line, the wing presented quick ball to James Mitchell, who found Monty Weatherby charging through. The prop looked as if he could have made the line, but unselfishly slipped the ball inside to Barnes to make sure, with Bennett adding a fourth conversion from as many attempts.

The Reds’ fly-half later missed his only goal attempt of the day as he sought to extend the six-point Jersey by three with a long-range penalty, but the ball went wide.

With time up, Ealing pressed and put Jordan Burns into a gap down the right; the replacement showed good pace in crossing the line but was prevented, crucially, from getting closer to the posts and Willis could not land the conversion.

The last-kick drama replicated the league wins over Doncaster and London Scottish earlier in the season, with visiting kickers having the chance to deny the Reds with the final kick of the game but failing to do so.

Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon was delighted after seeing his side beat Ealing for just the third time in 21 league and cup encounters at level two over the past decade.

“It’s a bit of a monkey off our back after more than four years,” he said. “We put ourselves under pressure in the second half by not sticking to task, but the guys showed real character and composure to come back at the end and regain the lead with a great team try.”

As in the last win over Ealing, a 34-41 cup success at Vallis Way in November 2018, the Londoners were able to take two points in defeat, meaning they stayed one point ahead of the Reds in the pool A rankings. Both sides know that they will qualify among the four top-ranked teams for the Championship Cup semi-finals – if they can win remaining games over Hartpury and Nottingham. The Reds travel to Gloucestershire this Friday before hosting the Archers a week later at the Stade.

Ealing DoR Ben Ward said: “We didn’t match them physically in the first 40 but were outstanding in the second half – we’ve come away with two points, so we’ll take that.”

Pics by Rich Chapman

JERSEY REDS: Owen B, Woollett, McHenry (Powell 70), Barnes, Brown (Lewis 70); Bennett , Mitchell; McGrath (Owen H 61), Hadfield, Longwell (Weatherby 64), O’Connor (YC 38, Everard 48), Scott (Gray 64), Cook, Wynne (c), Dun. Unused: Doolan, Elliott

EALING TRAILFINDERS: Bodilly; Earle (Burns 70), Bird-Tulloch, Robb, Cordy-Redden; Willis, Hampson; Gibbons (YC 50, Davis W 53), Walker (O’Byrne 58), Davis G (Kane 50), Montgomery, Linsell, Farrar (c), Uzokwe, Bridge (Digby 55).
Unused: Newman, Lancaster, Shingler

REFEREE: Dan Jones. Assistants: Veryan Boscawen, Calum Howard.
Half Time: 21-7
Attendance: 1,166

Jersey Reds
Tries: Hadfield 22, Dun 28, Woollett 35, Barnes 73
Conversions: Bennett 22, 28, 35, 73

Ealing Trailfinders
Tries: Walker 39, Hampson 45, Earle 58, Burns 80
Conversions: Willis 40, 45
Penalty: Willis 56





12 Oct 2023


Why not come and chillout in the ‘Watering Hole’ before the game? A full-bar and food is available and you can enjoy some live music after the game.

Logo for Santander International Logo for Barclays Logo for Carey Olsen Logo for Refinery Logo for Grant Thronton Logo for Ogier Logo for Seymour Hotels Logo for Polygon Collective Logo for Granite Products Logo for Condor Ferries Logo for Mitchell Building Contactors Logo for Jacksons Logo for Investec Logo for Centamin Logo for Sure Logo for Collas Crill Logo for Elixirr Logo for Fuel Supplies Logo for Hartigan Logo for Jersey Dairy Logo for Fox Trading Logo for OneCollab Logo for Quicksms Logo for Randalls Logo for Romerils Logo for Seaton Place Logo for Warm Solutions Ltd