Ealing 1871 v Actonians RFC
Actonians made the huge trek to neighbours Ealing under the early September sun in high spirits. A new and exciting squad led by veteran Captain Matt Lloyd made their way to league newcomers and early title favourites Ealing 1871 on the 14th September with a spring in their step and the smell of the slowly melting artificial pitch thick in their nostrils. After a warm-up which felt more like a pre-season fitness session, the match kicked off.
The opening stages of the match were frantic, with both sides running and defending just as hard as each other. Ealing were looking to utilise their strength and fitness in the early stages but the pressure from the Actonians defensive line kept forcing them backwards and into making mistakes. When the ball was worked into the Ealing 5 metre line, a slick back’s passing move nearly had the away team score in the corner, only for a stray Ealing hand to slap the ball down to prevent the try. Whilst the strong away support was baying for a card, Actonians were awarded a measly scrum. This was, however, all they needed, with Number 8 Ben Watkins picking up from the rapidly retreating scrum and popping over in the corner for the early score. Nino Musolino missed the extras.... Obviously.
With an early score, Actonians were looking for more. However, Ealing kept the pressure up on the away team’s try line but our stoic defenders would not budge. With every attack, the home team were beaten back and when the time came, like a coiled viper, Actonians struck. Spotting a mismatch on the wing, Matt Lloyd floated through the Ealing defence and spotted the onrushing Nino cutting a delicious line. Deciding to ignore the 2 on 1, Nino managed to beat the last defender and score under the posts for an easy conversion, which he missed. Obviously.
With about 15 minutes left to play, Ealing decided to wake up. With their clearly superior fitness, the home team finally managed to put together a number of attacking moves which saw them score a number of quick tries. With Actonians reeling from this blitz attack, the half-time whistle came as a blessing. Despite dominating the first half, Actonians went in 24-10 down at the break.
With the words of coaches Flo, Buster and Jamie ringing in their ears, the A’s marched back onto the pitch and under the un-relenting sun to try to wrestle back control of the game. However, it was Ealing who got the first score. And the second. And also the third. Their fitness and agility was almost frightening which, combined with the occasional comedic mishap (Michael Gilmore tipping a kick off straight to their prop and being outrun by him (yikes)) saw them start to rack up a big score. Alas, our heroes would not allow this to become a rout.
With hard lines from forwards and backs alike, Sam Andrews barrelled his way through the Ealing defence to score under the posts. Nino got this one. Then, with more scintillating attack, debutant Charles Butler managed to dot down in the corner, before second row Joe Margrie-Rouse decided to become intimate with the Ealing Number 8. Once the scuffle ended, Nino inexplicably nailed the touchline conversion.
With the bonus point secured, Acton topped off their display with flanker-turned-winger Heath Colthurst, who also secured the first MOTM of the season, scoring in the corner.
When the final whistle blew, Acton came off 55-29 runners up. Despite a valiant effort, Ealing were simply too quick and fit for the away team today. However, plenty of positives heading into the first home game against Uxbridge next Saturday. This week, DOTD Zak Taylor will be working on taking quick penalties so that he doesn’t end up with Gerty next week.