Blues humbled by rampant league leaders Ealing Trailfinders

Image: Matt Fleming Photography

With three wins and two defeats this season for the Blues, Mike Rayer’s side sat in fourth place in the Championship, but the challenge went up a notch when they welcomed league leaders Ealing on Saturday afternoon.

The Trailfinders, who many see as the runaway favourites for the title, scored 101 points on their last outing against London Scottish and came to Goldington Road brimming with confidence.

That confidence was given a boost a mere four minutes in as a missed tackle allowed centre Matt Gordon to stroll in under the posts to give the visitors an early 7-0 lead.

Ninety seconds later it was 14-0, David Johnston touching down to send the home crowd into a silent disbelief ahead of what was looking like a long afternoon for the Blues.

A period of pressure in the Ealing 22 did at least stifle the bleeding, but Bedford were unable to put any points on the board as the visitors defended valiantly, albeit on the edge.

Ealing’s third try came after twenty five minutes; a flowing, pacey move finished off by Simon Uzokwe and with the scoreboard at 21-0, it looked a long way back for the hosts.

Uzokwe doubled his try tally five minutes later, Bedford unable to cope with the pace and power of the back line and with a little over half an hour on the clock, the game was all but over at 26-0.

Further tries for Matt Gordon and Shaun Molton simply confirmed the Trailfinders’ dominance as a dejected Blues side walked into the changing rooms 38-0 down.

Bedford got positive use of the famous slope in the second half, and thought they had at least scored some points, but Dean Adamson’s try was ruled out for a forward pass, much to the frustration of the players and crowd alike.

However, the Blues – and Adamson – eventually got on the scoreboard after another period of pressure left the winger free on the outside to waltz into the corner.

A lot of the third quarter of the game was being played out in the Ealing half; with some adventure shown from Will Maisey and Rich Lane, but the bounce of the ball left Bedford largely chasing their tails.

Late tries for Ealing captain Rayn Smid and Charlie Walker would have perhaps led to a late surge but Bedford had the final cheer of the evening as debutant Jake Garside sprinted clear to score.

The Trailfinders were deserving of the comprehensive 50-14 final scoreline, with the Blues not the first side to feel the wrath of the strong visitors.

A crowd of 2,172 were particularly vocal against some refereeing decisions but in truth, Ealing’s pace and endeavour was too much for a Bedford side who gifted them some easy openings in the first half.

Despite a far better second half performance, Rayer and his coaching team will be disappointed with some aspects of their game, and will look to bounce back stronger against Cornish Pirates in a fortnight.

Elsewhere in the Championship, the Pirates scored a late try to avoid a shock defeat at bottom of the league, London Scottish, winning 19-17, while Coventry comfortably beat Nottingham.

Jersey Reds and Doncaster Knights had earlier beat Hartpury and Richmond respectively in the earlier kick offs as the Championship continues to throw up some fantastic battles.

However, after some early season jostling, Ealing Trailfinders look to be the team to beat and judging by today’s commanding victory, are certainly favourites for the title.

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