National League One
Ealing Trailfinders 24-19 Esher
It was more nip and tuck for Trailfinders on Saturday than they would have wished.
The National One leaders were made to work for their win and paid due respects to mdi-table Esher who fully deserved a bonus point.
The slim win keeps Ealing noses just ahead of Coventry and Rosslyn Park in the standings, but the intensity of the match was reflected when not a single point was scored in the final 30 minutes.
Esher took an early 6-0 lead, but Trailfinders hit back immediately when Phil Chesters added a try to his ever-burgeoning tally.
Chesters doubled his luck when he broke free down the left for his second try that Luke Daniels converted.
Esher continued their tough approach and number 8 Brandon Walker and prop Cameron Zeiss both came close from driving runs. Daniels then had to be alert to stop centre Jack Cooke from finishing off a backline move, but they earned their reward when Ian Cross landed his third penalty of the match.
Cross didn’t last the match however as soon after he went down heavily and unfortunately had to go off. A minute later Chris Kinloch swooped on a loose ball and linked up with Sam Wardingley who set Daniels free to race home for the hosts’ third try.
The visitors responded through their pack and closed to within one point by halftime after prop Zeiss burrowed over in the corner. Fullback Ali Chisholm took over the kicking duties and kept up Esher’s 100 percent record from the tee with a well-struck conversion from the touchline.
Chisholm put Esher back in front with another well-struck penalty three minutes into the second half, but after the visitors were penalised Ben Ward kicked for the corner, Llewelyn Jones won the line out and Ellis was driven over to secure the bonus point.
Trailfinders then turned the screw and Ellis, Chesters, Alex Walker and Paul Spivey came close to racing home, but Esher focus was razor sharp and in the end defences reigned supreme all the way to the 80 minute mark.
tries: (Chesters 8, 18, Daniels 33, Ellis 46); conversions (Daniels 19, 47)
tries: (Zeiss 38), Conversions (Chisholm 38); penalties (Cross 2, 6, 29, Chisholm 43)