Author Archives: Paul Clarke

Ealing 1871 33 – 8 Old Millhillians

Ealing Rugby 1871 vs Old Millhillians 14.12.19

After watching an impressive performance from the Ealing Trailfinders professional side in beating Coventry, it was clear that Ealing 1871 were taking notes and wanted to bring their A game to second in the league Old Millhillians.

It was a tense and cold game, both sides wanted to assert their dominance in the league, and what better place to challenge each other than under the lights at Trailfinders Sports Ground.

It was rather a slow start to the game compared to the previous week. Ealing started with confidence and were switched on from the get-go, an early penalty slotted by Fly Half Enrico Rolfo giving them an early 3-0 lead.

The lineout this season has been strong for the boys in green and there was no change in this game, and a driving maul followed by pick and go’s led to second row Nyall Wake scoring on the right. The conversion was missed, making the score 8-0 to Ealing.

Only five or so minutes later came a second try mirroring the first one: a maul was followed by pick and go’s and prop Thomas Szyszko crashed over to score. The score stayed at 13-0 as the conversion was missed.

Old Millhillians got themselves on the score board with a penalty, before a loose kick to fullback Lewis Steadman allowed him to charge electrifyingly through a broken field and round the Millhillians fullback to score a wonderful try in the corner. The tough conversion was missed, and the score going into the half time break was Ealing 18 Old Millhillians 3.

Whatever the coaching staff said at half time worked, because four minutes into the second half the home side scored again. The man in form, Number 8 Kairo Rodrigo-Payne, picked up from the base of an attacking scrum to notch another try to add to his ever-growing list. Another tough conversion was missed, leaving the score at 23-3.

After a huge defensive effort and some spine shuddering tackles from substitute Oscar Avis, Ealing found themselves once again in the opposition 22. More dominant pick and go’s led to a solid base to attack from, and the backs drew their man and passed the ball to winger Nathan Oti who glided past the last defender to score with ease, 28-3 to Ealing.

The home side took their foot off the gas for a prolonged period of time after scoring the fifth try, and this led to many offside penalties and plenty of opportunities for the away team. Finally, they capitalised after numerous tap and go penalties and scored, and with no conversion added, the score was 28-8.

Based on recent form it would not be unreasonable to expect Kairo Rodrigo-Payne to score a second try, and he did not disappoint. Step 1: A massive 8 man push in the scrum to turn over the ball, Step 2: Chip over the top of the winger, Step 3: Leap into the air and regather your own kick in one hand after an unusually high bounce, Step 4: score the try of the match, potentially even the season. The scored stayed 33-8 until the final whistle blew. An impressive performance all round, and man of the match was a tough decision, but it was awarded jointly to Oscar Avis for the forwards and Lewis Steadman for the backs.

Written by Charlie Watt

Andrew Barton, Liam McDonagh, Thomas Szyszko, Matthew Donnelly, Nyall Wake, Joshua Goddard, Kadeem Collins, Kairo Rodrigo-Payne, Alex Gillespie, Enrico Rolfo, Mir Afzaal Ijaz, Stan Duhamel, Kenenna Chukwuma, Nathan Oti, Lewis Steadman, Pat Nash, Oscar Avis, Kavan Fitzpatrick

Watford 31 – 41 Ealing 1871

Watford RFC vs Ealing Rugby 1871 (7.12.19)

A surprisingly warm day in Hertfordshire given the fact we were nearing Christmas saw Ealing travel Watford in a 1st vs 6th game, hoping to continue their unbeaten season. The pitch looked wet and slippery, not lending favour to either the forwards or the backs.

It was a first half to forget for the away side, conceding the first of four tries after 6 minutes, high tackles meaning Watford gained yards. A series of carries led to them creating space, which allowed one of their two quick wingers to score in the corner – a tactic they employed all half. As Watford continued to apply pressure, kicking 3 points with a penalty, it took a team effort to start turning things around. A sustained length of time attacking led to a penalty inside Watford’s 22, and a quick tap penalty and quick passes stretched the defence, enabling Number 8 Kairo Rodrigo Payne to dot down in the corner. The conversion was missed, meaning the score at halftime was Watford 31 Ealing 5.

However, clichéd the phrase, this game really was a tale of two halves, and whatever was said by the management team at half time seemed to work. The pitch was getting steadily worse as the game went on, favouring a strong ball-carrying pack. Phase after phase of pick and go’s and running hard lines off the scrum half eventually led to prop Andrew Barton driving over to score. The conversion was unsuccessful, leaving the score at 31-10 to the home side.

Despite the size of Watford’s forwards, Ealing’s pack gained more and more of the upper hand at scrum time as their fitness began to tell. Seven minutes into the second half, a huge 8-man shove led to Rodrigo-Payne picking up from the base of the scrum and charging 40 metres down the right-hand side to score in the corner, and with a tough conversion missed, the score now stood at 31-15.

Belief that they could turn this around and win was quite clearly growing throughout the team, more exciting attacking rugby was being played and quick hands led to an explosive run by substitute Kadeem Collins, something he did all game after coming on, and quick hands and great support lines once again led to Rodrigo- Payne dotting down on the right hand side. The conversion of this wonderful team try was slotted by fly-half Enrico Rolfo, making the score 31-22, and the comeback was well and truly on.

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The next two tries came from great work by everyone at lineouts, winning the ball and creating great platforms for attack. The first came from more pick and go’s, dominating the contact, and this time it was flanker Albert Stoute who went over the whitewash. The second try went lineout, pass to fly half Enrico Rolfo, then sidestep, sidestep, sidestep again and score, a really brilliant passage of play for the fly half who nailed both conversions to give Ealing a lead of 36-31.

It did not end there: another massive scrum set up an attack, and the backs’ ability to stretch a tired defence meant fullback Daniel Thomas had a one-on-one to score. He stepped off his right foot and dived for the line to score. The try went unconverted but an incredible performance in the second half meant that the final score was 41-31 to Ealing.
Great performances all round but a joint man of the match was awarded to Kadeem Collins and Nyall Wake.

Team sheet: 1. Andrew Barton, 2. Liam McDonagh (C), 3. Thomas Szyszko, 4.Matthew Donnelly, 5. Sam Lindsay, 6. Jonathan McKeogh, 7. Albert Stoute, 8. Kairo Rodrigo-Payne, 9. Alex Gillespie, 10. Enrico Rolfo, 11. Phil Done, 12. Afzaal Mir, 13. Jacob Pepper, 14. Arian Shehu, 15. Daniel Thomas.

Subs: Kadeem Collins, Nyall Wake, Kavan Fitzpatrick

Written by Charlie Watt

Fullerians 19 – 17 Ealing 1871 U23s

The disappointment of a cryoff by Richmond Normans in the Raging Bull Shield Division 2 was overcome with the late arrangement of a friendly against RFU London Division 2 side Fullerians, who would provide a useful taste of the standard of rugby played at Level 7 of the league hierarchy, three levels higher than Herts Middlesex 2 where Ealing 1871 1sts are spending their first season in the national league structure.

Ealing began strongly, gaining possession from their own kick-off with a big hit on the catcher, and spent the first 5 minutes on the attack. However, Fullerians withstood the pressure and eventually won a penalty for not releasing in the tackle, the first of what was to prove to be a high number of transgressions by the visitors in the first half mostly due to accurate but passive tackling which enabled the Watford-based side to win crucial turnover ball.

On 11 minutes Fullerians stole an Ealing lineout and eventually worked an overlap for a try on the wing. Two long raking kicks by full-back Lewis Steadman put Ealing back on the attack, but a penalty for a late tackle enabled Fullerians to relieve the pressure. The heavy home pack began to turn the screw by shunting the Ealing forwards back in the set piece, and a collapsed scrum led to the award of a penalty try. Despite repeatedly sliding back on a heavy pitch, the Ealing forwards did not concede any further penalties in the set piece, but with the break approaching Fullerians took full advantage of hesitancy among the Ealing forwards, their No 7 picking up a loose ball and accelerating to the posts for a converted try. The fight-back began as the first 40 minutes drew to a close. From a penalty moved 10 metres closer to the Fullerians line for dissent, quick passing put Steadman into space for an unconverted try wide out on the left.

Ealing turned around 19-5 down after a first half in which they had perhaps paid their opponents too much respect, but the second period proved to be a different matter, with steadier scrums and greater fluency throughout the side. The visitors enjoyed long periods of territorial dominance and could themselves have been awarded a couple of penalty tries. Finally on 75 minutes the Fullerians defence was breached after a stream of possession from scrums, lineouts and rucks, with No 8 Kairo Rodrigo-Payne touching down for a try well converted by fly-half Enrico Rolfo. A few minutes later Ealing moved within 2 points of their opponents with a fine try to Nathan Oti. The conversion attempt from half-way out, which if successful would have snatched a draw, was missed, bringing to an end a match which ultimately brought a strong performance after a disappointing first half.

Team: Andrew Barton, Albert Stoute, Thomas Szyszko, Joshua Goddard, Sam Lindsay, Liam Woolford, Euan Jones, Kairo Rodrigo-Payne, Lucas Brathwaite, Enrico Rolfo, Jack Marsh, Stan Duhamel, Kenenna Chukwuma, Phil Done, Lewis Steadman. Replacements: Evan Poole, Fabio Krasniqi, David Niven, Alex Gillespie, Jacob Pepper, Nathan Oti

This Saturday, 7 December, Ealing 1871 1sts are away to Watford in Herts Middlesex 2, while the U23s face Bracknell 2nd XV at home in the Raging Bull Shield.

London Welsh 2nd XV 20 – 17 Ealing 1871 2nds

A hard-fought battle with old rivals London Welsh ended in agonisingly narrow defeat for the Ealing 1871 2nds in Middlesex Merit Table Division 1.

Fielding a makeshift front row due to late unavailabilities, Ealing battled hard all afternoon and great credit is due to Kieran Woolford, Evan Poole and Fabio Krasniqi for digging in against a powerful and heavy Welsh pack. The league leaders took an early lead with a well-worked move from a penalty but the visitors bounced back within a few minutes with full back Lewis Steadman finishing off with aplomb after slick handling along the back line from a penalty lineout. Scrum half Dan Thomas added the extras. A period of Welsh dominance followed with a number of penalties awarded, but strong tackling held the home side at bay, and slightly against the run of play it was Ealing who extended their lead with an outstanding run down the touchline by recent recruit Manuel Viviani, who subsequently had to leave the field with a bang on the nose. Attacks by both sides were repelled with shuddering tackles to leave the half-time score at 10-7 to Ealing.

The second half proved equally competitive, but Welsh moved into the lead 7 minutes after the break with an unconverted try when an overlap was worked from a penalty, and extended their advantage to 17-10 with a quarter of the game to go.  Steadman replaced Calum Jones at fly half, with Matthew Lacour moving from wing to full back, and 5 minutes after the Welsh had scored replacement centre Stan Duhamel, who had overslept and consequently been unable to join the Under 23s for their trip to Guernsey in the Zoo Shield, intercepted and burst upfield, slipping on the mud but managing to release man-of-the-match Steadman, who outpaced the defence to score under the posts. With the score tied at 17-17 a dramatic conclusion saw Welsh convert a penalty before Ealing, in an almost identical position, opted to take a scrum rather than a kick at goal. The Welsh held out under heavy pressure to finish a pulsating encounter of high-quality rugby three points to the good.

Ealing 1871 26 – 7 Uxbridge

Ealing 1871 vs Uxbridge, Herts/Middlesex Division 2; 9 November 2019

On a cold, wet West London afternoon at the Trailfinders Sports Ground, Ealing Trailfinders 1871 took on top of the table Uxbridge RFC, who were previously unbeaten, in a game that would see Ealing take top spot should the result go their way.

The home team set to work from the get-go, organised, vocal and ready for what seemed likely to be a forward-dominated game.

Ealing started the game with a high contestable kick, caught expertly by No 8 Kairo Rodrigo-Payne. With scrum half Lucas Braithwaite and fly half Enrico Rolfo bossing the attack, Rolfo slid a kick to apply pressure, with Uxbridge dotting down for a 22 metre drop out.

Uxbridge piled on the pressure and worked their way down the pitch towards Ealing’s try line, but a huge defensive effort from Ealing led to multiple mistakes from Uxbridge, with the away team eventually conceding a scrum for a knock-on.

A slightly rushed clearance kick failed to find touch, which meant that the Uxbridge full back had a sea of broken play to attack and to make the final pass for a score in the corner. The conversion was made, giving Uxbridge a 7-0 lead.

More sustained pressure from Ealing in defence forced a mistake, with the wet weather really taking its toll on both sides, leaving Ealing with an attacking scrum on the 22 metre line. A strong charge from Rodrigo-Payne off the base of the scrum and some quick hands saw full back Jack Hobbs with a tough task, but with silky hips that would not look out of place on the Strictly dance floor, he dotted down in the right corner. Rolfo converted, leaving the score tied at 7-7.

A catalogue of back and forth mistakes made up the next 20 minutes of rugby, and a change of tactics was required. Ealing started pinning Uxbridge into the corners, piling on the pressure at the lineout, and regularly coming out on top. Another knock-on from Uxbridge at the lineout gave Ealing a further chance to assert their scrum dominance, and they duly obliged. Another bullish charge from Rodrigo-Payne saw him break through desperate tackles to score. Rolfo converted again, leaving the score at 14–7 to the home side going into halftime.

The second half started just as the first had ended, with Ealing piling on the pressure, forcing Uxbridge to play out of their own 22 metre area with kicks into the corner, one in particular being chased by big front row man Andrew Barton, who did not quite have the pace to get on the end of his own fly hack but more than made up for it with a huge tackle on the covering player, sending him into the next county. The tackled player knocked on, but unfortunately the gathered ball was lost and the attack fizzled out.

The defensive work rate was a testament to how hard this Ealing side battle. Constant defensive efforts piling on pressure and forcing mistakes led to Hobbs intercepting a poor pass on his own 22 metre line and running the length of the pitch to score under the posts for his second of the match. Rolfo converted once more, making the score 21-7 in Ealing’s favour.

The change of tactics during the first half really paid dividends, with another kick into the corner leading to a defensive lineout on Uxbridge’s own 5 metre line. The throw-in was expertly stolen by 2nd row Matthew Donnelly, and from the subsequent breakdown a slick inside ball from Brathwaite to Rodrigo-Payne saw the No 8 over the line for his second of the day. The conversion was missed, meaning that the score at the final whistle was Ealing 1871 26 Uxbridge 7.

Man of the match:
Forwards: Kairo Rodrigo-Payne
Backs: Enrico Rolfo

Ealing 1871 55 – 29 Actonians

After a long struggle to gain acceptance in the national league structure, the newly affiliated Ealing Trailfinders 1871 team finally made its debut in Herts Middlesex 2 on a warm mid-September afternoon against local rivals Actonians, and despite a sluggish start eventually came good to score nine tries in an entertaining encounter.

The historic occasion was watched by a sizable crowd, whose cheers turned to groans when Actonians notched two tries in the opening quarter, seizing on Ealing errors. Undaunted by the early setback, 1871 gained the upper hand and increasingly looked the more likely team to score, and full back Nathan Oti duly touched down for the team’s first try in the league. Slick passing along the back line led to an equalising try by centre Afzaal Mir, swiftly followed by another score by Oti, who also added the conversion. In the last play of the first half flanker Luke Parry capped a man-of-the-match performance with his team’s fourth try, securing a bonus point in the process.

Brimming with confidence after a strong end to the first half, 1871 put the contest beyond doubt on the re-start, with scores by replacement Haseen Hashim and prop Tim Hitchcock, stretching for the line for his second try in two weeks. Actonians never gave up, and with 30 minutes left on the clock scored under the posts. Just 3 minutes later the gap was restored with a fine try by Jack Marsh on the right wing. Second row Liam Woolford ran powerfully to notch his team’s eighth try before Hasim scored again. Actonians, having already secured their own try bonus, finally added their fifth and game’s fourteenth try.

Next Saturday, 21 September, 1871 will aim to build on their successful start to the league season on the short away trip to West London.

Ealing 1871: Nathan Oti, Arian Shehu, Paulo Kretteis, Afzaal Mir, Chris Monponbanua, Harrison Slater, Lucas Brathwaite, Tim Hitchcock, Liam McDonagh, Andrew Barton, Sean Kennett, Nyall Wake, Matvey Boguslavskiy, Luke Parry. Replacements: Liam Woolford, Haseen Hashim, Jack Marsh

Ealing 1871 U23s 29 – 29 Maidenhead

Rarely is the old cliché of a game of two halves more appropriate than in the first game played by the 1871 Under 23s in Raging Bull Shield Division 2 against newly promoted Maidenhead. With a seemingly impregnable lead of 29-0 with a minute to go until the break, Ealing lost focus and in the end had to hang on for a short of the spoils.

With the advantage of the breeze in the first half, Ealing started well, putting the visitors under pressure after they knocked on from the kick-off. The home pack looked to have the edge, but a succession of penalties enabled Maidenhead to relieve the pressure. However, on the quarter-hour mark a fine break by centre Paulo Kretteis led to a try by flanker Matvej Boguslavskij from recycled ball, converted by fly half Enrico Rolfo. Five minutes later a second try followed through prop Tim Hitchcock, fed by hooker Liam McDonagh, Rolfo adding the extras from close to the posts. A few minutes later wing Arian Shehu made a strong break down the left wing, was stopped but recovered to score an unconverted try. A fine try by flanker Luke Parry followed, evading last-ditch tackles by going low. Rolfo converted and added a penalty to leave Ealing handily placed at 29-0. With the last move of the first half Maidenhead put their first points on the board with a forwards’ try under the posts to leave the score at the interval 29-7.

Ealing had taken their foot off the pedal for the last 5 minutes of the first half and proceeded to play long periods of the second half in their own half, with the dominant visitors making full use of a stiffening breeze. Maidenhead ate steadily into the deficit to gain a try bonus point to match Ealing’s, and with the home side hanging on desperately and losing two men to the sin bin a fifth try followed in time added on. Fortunately for Ealing the ball was touched down wide out on the right, and with the conversion missed the game ended in a high-scoring draw, which was probably overall a fair reflection of the 80 minutes of play.

Ealing: Tim Hitchcock, Liam McDonagh, Andrew Barton, Liam Woolford, Jon McKeogh, Matvey Boguslavskij, Luke Parry, Oscar Avis, Lucas Brathwaite, Enrico Rolfo, Jack Marsh, Afzaal Mir, Paulo Kretteis, Arian Shehu, Nathan Oti, Jack Hobbs, Olawafunbi Osuntoki, Neil Taylor, Adam Gilbert, Alex Gillespie, Jesse Otway

Next Saturday, 15 September, Ealing 1871 make their long-awaited debut in the national leagues, with a Herts Middlesex 2 home fixture against local rivals Old Actonians.

Ealing Trailfinders 1871

The Club has decided to create a new club with RFU accreditation for the new season.  The new Club, playing as Ealing Trailfinders 1871, will be closely linked to the existing Ealing Trailfinders structure, share the same facilities but will operate independently within the RFU regulations and compete independently within the RFU league structure. See HERE for more details.