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Trail of woe as Wharfedale taught lesson in finishing
Wharfedale 17 Ealing Trailfinders 41
Ealing, who were far more alert at taking chances than creating them, nevertheless ran out comfortable eventual winners at the Avenue.
The Trailfinders had considered this a tricky fixture but Wharfedale were unable to exert sufficient pressure to make the visitors work as hard for victory as they perhaps should have.
Though the Greens opened strongly creating several half chances in a hotly contested first quarter their inability to match the visitor’s lethal finishing left them trailing throughout the match. Wharfedale failed to capitalise fully on overlaps on the right and were halted at the line from both a centre break and several close forward drives and had to be content with an opening 19th minute penalty.
Second quarter tries by Phil Chesters, with a sublimely athletic punishing solo touchline kick and re-gather, and Karl Gibson from a turn-over ruck together with a penalty try all converted by centre Tom Wheatcroft were answered only by three Tom Davidson penalties from the hosts. If the resulting 21-9 half-time lead rather flattered Ealing’s overall play it accurately reflected their clinical ability to make Wharfedale pay for any error.
The Greens again pressed strongly after the break gaining two further penalties and at last attacking reward through winger Simon Horsfall with an excellent tight overlap dash to the corner.
But with both a bonus point and a secure platform for victory earned by replacement centre Sam Wardingly’s try midway through the half, Ealing finished more confidently with two further Ben Ward penalties and a final try converted try by replacement lock Simon Gaynor.
Debutant Wharfedale centre David Clark was recalled twice in the act of scoring, but that was as near as the hosts got. Clark’s strong direct running appears a definite asset to the Greens’ midfield play. And was some compensation for injuries to key forwards Chris Steel and Aaron Myers. Without these influential performers and in the absence of Alastair Allen, Wharfedale failed for the first time this season to outlast a powerful opposition pack.