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