Ealing Trailfinders 5 Plymouth Albion 20
Friday 8th November 2013
The consensus of opinion after Albion’s win, in their first ever fixture with Ealing Trailfinders, was that it was that it was a job well done.
In a crowd of just 568, about 100 were supporting Albion and at no stage did an upset look to be on the cards. The performance from the visitors was thoroughly professional and Albion continue to move forward on the field.
In previous seasons this was the type of game Albion would have gone into as favourites and lost.
Four points on the road are always welcome but the fact that the Albion players were disappointed in not getting five, shows just how far the club have come this season.
Once again the Albion tries came from the wingers but there was disappointment for Albion in the form of a serious looking knee injury picked up by in form flanker Eoghan Grace in the first half.
The victory at Ealing was the fourth away from home this season.
Albion head coach James Shanahan reflecting on the game said, “In very difficult conditions underfoot it wasn’t one of our best performances but to get four points, we will take that.
“Any away wins in the Championship are hard to come by and I thought we were always in control of that game.
“At half time I said that that our fringe defence was going to be crucial and I’m disappointed that we gave away a try at the end.
“For ten minutes in the first half and for ten minutes towards the end we put ourselves under pressure but Ealing didn’t really look like scoring.
Albion made five changes to the side that ran Bristol so close the previous weekend.
Winger Jack Arnott and hooker Max Crumpton, who are both dual registered, were recalled for LV= Cup duty and they were replaced by Lewis Warner and Gareth Evans.
Ruairi Cushion returned at scrum half after injury and Harrison Tovey made his first start of the season in the second row.
The final change saw Grace coming into the back row with Rob Langley dropping to the bench.
Sam Hocking who left Albion at the end of last season started at No 8 for Ealing.
On a pitch that was very soft underfoot, Albion made a hesitant start and should have fallen behind early on.
Ealing centre Tom Wheatcroft saw his first effort at goal rebound off a post and Albion cleared the danger.
On their first visit to the Ealing 22, Albion opened the scoring when right wing Tom Bowen got his sixth league try of the season.
Hooker Evans, who had a fine game, made the initial break and after Bowen took the inside pass he side stepped past two defenders to score under the posts.
Fly half Declan Cusack added the simple conversion and shortly afterwards slotted a 35 metre penalty to take Albion into double figures.
In the 16th minute, when Ealing were pulled up for offside in midfield, Cusack put over a second penalty from almost the identical position as his first.
Wheatcroft then missed two kickable penalties, which sent Albion into the interval leading 13-0.
Albion had to face the strong breeze in the second half but from the restart they put the home side under pressure.
In the 53rd minute Ealing were reduced to 14 when hooker Sam Wilkes was yellow carded for a professional foul and Albion took full advantage of the extra man.
After Ealing defended a catch and drive attempt, Albion opted for a 5 metre scrum which produced their second try.
With referee MacDonald, who didn’t have the best of matches, about to award a penalty try Albion released the ball to left wing Lewis Warner who crashed over.
Cusack’s added the conversion and Albion then went in search of two more tries for the bonus point.
In the end the only other score went to Ealing, who got a late catch and drive try that was claimed by replacement Josh Elliott.
Player coach Ben Ward failed with the conversion and as much as Albion pressed in the last five minutes, the home defence held firm.
Next up for Albion is a trip to Nottingham next Sunday afternoon.
Ealing Trailfinders: A Henderson, W Robinson, R McLean-Dents, T Wheatcroft (C Kinloch 64), P Chesters, B Ward capt, M Thompson, R Storer (S Neville 64), S Wilkes, T Brockett (S Carey 74), A Preocanin, M Evans, E Siggery (J Elliott 53- 63, S Pape 74), T Anderson (A Bradley 74), S Hocking reps not used S Commins
Yellow card: Wilkes
Plymouth Albion: C Elder, T Bowen, B Woods (H Stevens 69) T Howley-Berridge, L Warner, D Cusack (J Shanahan 64), R Cushion (P Rowley 64), B Rogers (M Rice 61), G Evans (D McGregor 69), D Morton (L Fairbrother 53), H Tovey, I Ascroft-Leigh, S-M Stephen, E Grace (R Langley 38), R Oakley capt
Tries: Bowen, Warner
Cons: Cusack 2
Pens: Cusack 2
Referee Greg MacDonald