Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club suffered their second defeat in as many games as they fell short in a nail-biting contest against third-placed Blaydon.
ETRFC set out in an attempt to bounce back from their first defeat of the season last week but fell agonisingly short, losing 35-34.
ETRFC began the game in rampant fashion and were ahead early on as Owen Bruynseels crashed over to give the away side the lead against the Newcastle based outfit.
Blaydon, who have also stated a claim for being promotion chasers, hit straight back, running home two tries to take the score to 14-7.
ETRFC were giving as good as they got and a fabulous burst from Sam Wardingley allowed Peter Hodgkinson the space to run the ball to the line. Wheatcroft converted the extras to leave the scores at 14-14.
Having worked tirelessly to level, ETRFC will be disappointed that it was another defensive error that allowed Blaydon to score their third try of day. Wheatcroft reduced the deficit to 21-17 before the visitors were hit with a sucker punch as a turn-over and a hopeful kick downfield led to Blaydon running the ball to the line.
Blaydon went into the half-time break having secured the bonus point and sitting on a healthy 28-17 lead.
With ETRFC needing to strike early in the second half, it was the home side that burst through to extend their lead to 35-17, leaving the noise coming from the away support minimal.
ETRFC did everything they could to ensure the long trip to Newcastle was worth shouting about for their following as they enjoyed a period of scintillating rugby. Hodgkinson got the ball rolling with his second try of the day, with Wheatcroft adding the extras. The ETRFC fly-half then converted a penalty to narrow the home side’s lead to 35-27.
ETRFC pilled the pressure on the home side and it paid off as Gavin Curry brushed aside two Blaydon challenges on his way to the try line. Wheatcroft converted the extras to leave ETRFC within a point of their rivals.
The last ten minutes saw ETRFC bombard the Blaydon try-line, as the camped in the Blaydon half. Unfortunately for the away side, the comeback fell short as the guests were unable to power through the Blaydon line for a winner.
ETRFC welcome Sedgley Park to Vallis Way next weekend and will be looking to put pressure on leaders Rosslyn Park.