Big power surge puts Eal­ing on trail to top

The Rugby Paper - - Greene King IPA Championship - ■ By NEALE HAR­VEY

EAL­ING roared to the top of the Cham­pi­onship with a scin­til­lat­ing sec­ond­half dis­play that main­tained their 100 per cent record and left Bedford gasp­ing for breath.

A tight first pe­riod gave no hint of what was to fol­low when Eal­ing upped the ante to an­nounce them­selves as se­ri­ous chal­lengers to ti­tle favourites Bris­tol.

Winger James CordyRed­den bagged a dou­ble, with star man Piers O’Con­nor, Alun Walker and Barney Mad­di­son adding fur­ther tries. Those plus 20 points from the im­pe­ri­ous boot of Peter Ly­don left Eal­ing head coach Alex Codling de­lighted.

“I thought we were ex­cep­tional and I was re­ally pleased with the sec­ond­half; we got on a roll, put pres­sure on pres­sure and it’s a great win,” he said.

Eal­ing made a crack­ing start when Joe Munro sent O’Conor hurtling into space. Richard Lane did well to track back but Cordy-Red­dan was on hand to score.

Bedford struck back im­me­di­ately when Mike Le Bour­geois found El­liot Cle­ments-Hill who drew the last de­fender be­fore send­ing Dean Adam­son over.

The visi­tors then pro­duced a sparkling pas­sage of play as Harry Shep­pard sent Cle­ments-Hill rac­ing through. He was scragged but the ball was re­cy­cled and Le Bour­geois, Shep­pard and Lee Dick­son com­bined to re­lease Adam­son for his se­cond try.

Eal­ing re­sponded as Andrew Du­ru­talo nar­rowly failed to reach a Miles Man­tella grub­ber, but they were not to be de­nied when O’Conor gath­ered from Munro and shrugged off Dick­son and Chris Czekaj for a 40-me­tre score.

Ly­don con­verted and then slot­ted a su­perb lon­grange penalty for a 17-12 lead, but Bedford hit back by forc­ing a scrum penalty, which was con­verted by Shep­pard, be­fore Shep­pard slot­ted Bedford back in front af­ter Eal­ing had strayed off­side.

The fu­ri­ous pace con­tin­ued as Ly­don went close and the full-back smashed over an­other mon­ster penalty af­ter Jarad Wil­liams came in at the side.

Eal­ing led 20-18 at the break, the lead hav­ing changed hands five times, and it was Bedford’s turn to threaten af­ter the restart when soft hands from Tom Lind­say sent Le Bour­geois through be­fore Eal­ing scram­bled to force a trysav­ing penalty.

Eal­ing made the most of their es­cape by march­ing back up field and, af­ter Aaron Penberthy had kicked a penalty to the cor­ner, Mad­di­son took the li­ne­out and Walker fin­ished the drive, with Ly­don con­vert­ing for a nine-point ad­van­tage.

Sens­ing a chance for the kill, the home side went for broke and, af­ter the for­wards had pounded the line, Barney Mad­di­son barged his way over.

That se­cured the try­bonus and Eal­ing were in clover two min­utes later when in­ci­sive mid­field play, again in­volv­ing O’Conor, en­abled Ly­don to send Cordy-Red­dan over.

Ly­don knocked over a penalty for a 42-18 lead and, af­ter Jor­dan Burns had sniped un­der the posts for a late con­so­la­tion try for Bedford, the el­e­gant full-back stroked over his fourth penalty to com­plete a hugely con­vinc­ing vic­tory.

Bedford boss Mike Rayer said: “I’ve got no qualms with the re­sult. Eal­ing were out­stand­ing to­day and they out­played us in the sec­ond­half.”

PIC­TURES: Oli Shap­ley

Fast start: James CordyRed­den scores af­ter three min­utes

Ser­vice: Harry Shep­pard steps in as scrum half

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