Jan Henning Campher’s try with nine minutes to go proved to be the difference for Ealing Trailfinders in a fiercely competitive Championship Cup game.
Just eight minutes in, Ealing seemed to have the opening try in the bag after Rueben Bird-Tulloch broke away from the Nottingham defence and offloaded it to Jack Metcalf to beat the last defender. However, Metcalf lost control of the ball just before he got it down and Nottingham escaped with the score still nil-nil.
After that, the first half was virtually all Nottingham. Five minutes after Ealing’s mistake, Aniseko Sio got close to putting his name on the scoresheet, rumbling through the visitors’ defence and only getting stopped a few feet from the line. A few phases later, Morgan Bunting hit a great cross-field kick for David Williams to go up and claim over the line for the first try of the game.
It wasn’t long before the Green and Whites added to their lead. A drawn-out attack deep in Ealing territory saw Javiah Pohe getting brought down inches from the line. The attack wasn’t dead though, as a few moments later, Bunting saw a gap and darted through it for the score.
Ealing did hit back quickly through their big number eight Simon Uzokwe, who pushed his way over the Nottingham line to bring the difference back to just seven points
Trailfinders were looking to get an equalising try right before halftime, and nearly found it when Uzokwe burst through the Nottingham defence from distance and offloaded it to Cian Williams. However, Nottingham recovered well and were eventually able to win the penalty, allowing them to clear their lines and go into the break with a seven-point lead.
Immediately after the break, it looked as if Craig Hammonds men were going to pick up from where they left off. They put together a great attacking set but were unable to make it count and Ealing got their hands on a loose ball and cleared the danger.
A few minutes later it was the visitors who were on the attack. Despite Nottingham putting in a great defensive effort to keep them out at first, they eventually found their equalising try through Carlo Tizzano finishing from a driving maul.
At the hour mark, Tizzano once again finished a driving maul to give Ealing the lead for the first time.
However, Nottingham responded perfectly. Jordan Olowofela used his pace to burn past the Ealing defence on the right hand side, fending off the final tackle long enough to get the ball over the line. Morgan Bunting’s conversion meant the score was once again tied up at 19 apiece.
Ealing once again found the go-ahead try five minutes later. Campher was the beneficiary of another solid driving maul from the visitors, giving them the lead with less than ten minutes left on the clock.
It wasn’t game over though. Nottingham kept coming.
At around midfield, Carl Kirwan did well to get on the end of a cheekyu chip ovwer the top form Morgan Bunting. He then offloaded it to Michael Stronge, but the scrum half couldn’t find the gas to outpace the recovering Ealing defenders.
Unfortunaltey, Ealing then did a good job of seeing off the game and were able to kick it into touch to trigger the final whistle with a seven-point lead.