Big power surge puts Ealing on trail to top
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.”
Fast start: James CordyRedden scores after three minutes
Service: Harry Sheppard steps in as scrum half