- The Championship
- Saturday, February 10th 2018
- Trailfinders SG (Vallis Way)
Will Carpenter reports from Trailfinders SG (Vallis Way)
Report: Ealing Trailfinders 27-28 Bristol Rugby
Sunday, February 11th 2018
Jordan Williams inspired a second-half comeback, as Bristol Rugby overcame a half-time deficit to edge Ealing Trailfinders 28-27 at Vallis Way and extend their lead at the top of the GKIPA Championship to 13 points.
The full-back struck twice in the second period as Pat Lam’s side fought back to seal a bonus-point win in West London and maintain their unbeaten league record, while condemning Ealing to a first home defeat of the season.
Tusi Pisi’s ninth-minute score had given Bristol an early lead against the second-place Trailfinders, but the hosts came charging back with tries from James Cordy Redden and a penalty try, which saw Steven Luatua sent to the sin-bin.
Sam Jeffries levelled the scores with a try nine minutes before the break, but Luke Daniels’ penalty on the stroke of half time – after James Lay and Ealing’s Harry Casson had also seen yellow - gave Ealing a three-point lead at the interval.
But Jordan Williams’ brace proved decisive - either side of an Aaron Penberthy drop-goal – to seal the try bonus-point with 15 minutes remaining.
Morgan Allen’s 77th-minute score ensured a nervy finish in the driving rain, but Bristol held on to record a 15th successive league victory and increase their advantage at the summit.
After a cagey start, it was Bristol who took the lead on nine minutes when Dan Thomas scooped up a loose pass five metres out, and Rhodri Williams located a wide-open Tusi Pisi in the left-hand corner.
Ealing responded immediately, as Penberthy’s pin-point cross-field kick was collected by Cordy Redden, who shook off a covering tackle to slide over.
The hosts’ second arrived on the half-hour mark, as referee Luke Pearce went under the posts to award a penalty try - before showing Luatua a yellow card - following a powerful Ealing maul.
But the numerical disadvantage didn’t appear to dent Bristol spirits, and the visitors hit back four minutes before the break when Sam Jeffries crossed in rather fortuitous fashion to level the scores.
An even first half looked to be ending all square when Dan Thomas’ turnover halted Ealing momentum inside the Bristol 22 – but an off the ball incident involving debutant James Lay and Harry Casson, saw both players sent to the sin bin and the penalty reversed.
Luke Daniels stroked over the resulting kick to give Ealing a three-point lead at the interval.
Enter, Jordan Williams, sprinting and stepping his way to the line from 60 metres to thrust Bristol into a four-point lead early in the second period.
Aaron Penberthy’s drop-goal reduced Ealing’s deficit to one-point just three minutes later, but Williams crossed for a crucial second, after patient Bristol build-up, to seal the try bonus-point with 15 minutes remaining.
Ealing continued to press and after Kieran Murphy had been held up over the whitewash, Morgan Allen crashed over three minutes from time to ensure a nervy finish in the driving rain.
But as time ticked away, Bristol held their nerve to record a 15th-successive league victory and increase their advantage at the summit of the GKIPA Championship.
Trailing 17-14 at half-time, Bristol were in need of big response - and they got exactly that from the sensational Jordan Williams.
The full back collected Dan Thomas' pass to storm clear on the right-hand side, before sealing the deal with a stunning sidestep to put Bristol into a 17-21 lead.
It was a lead they wouldn't relinquish, as Pat Lam's side sealed a dramatic victory in West London.
Man of the match: Jordan Williams
We're running out of superlatives to describe the flying Welshman, but for now, we'll go with phenomenal.
Williams was, once again, in a class of his own, inspiring his side to a second-half comeback and a crucial victory at Vallis Way.
Two tries capped a superb individual display - the first, a 60-metre solo effort at a crucial point in the game, while the second saw him step and power over after a patient build-up in the Ealing 22.
Photo of the match:
Social media post of the day:
Ealing Trailfinders: Daniels, Harries, Jones, Munro, Cordy Redden, Penberthy, Carter, Gibbons, Walker, Thiede, Casson, Maddison, Murphy, Smid, Bright (c).
Replacements: Cornish, Davis, Tampin, Allen, Jones, Grant Adamson, Lydon.
Bristol Rugby: J Williams, Morahan, Piutau, Pisi, Leiua, Madigan (Searle 70), R Williams; Bevington (Tonga’uiha 48), Harris-Wright, Lay (Faletau 60), Batley (Joyce 45), Jeffries, Luatua, Thomas (Lam 51), Haining.
Replacements: Fenton-Wells, Tonga’uiha, Faletau, Joyce, Lam, Uren, Searle.
- Cordy-Redden, Allen
- Daniels (2)
- Yellow Cards:
- Jeffries, Pisi, Williams (2)
- Madigan (4)
- Yellow Cards:
- Lay, Luatua