Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club
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|Full name||Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club|
|Union||Middlesex RFU, Surrey RFU|
|Location||West Ealing, Ealing, London, England|
|Ground(s)||Trailfinders Sports Ground (Capacity: 4,000 (2,200 seats))|
Glen Townson Jimmy Lowes Steve Neville
Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club is an English rugby union club, located in West London. The club's first team play in the Greene King IPA Championship RFU Championship after they won National League 1 in 2014–15, the third tier of the English domestic rugby union league system.
Structure of the club
The club's registered playing name with the RFU is Ealing Trailfinders. The club is a Mutual Society registered with the FSA, and run on behalf of its members and the game. The club is located in West London at Trailfinders Sports Ground, just south of the A40 at the upper end of West Ealing.
The Club has a first team squad, Men's Section, Academy Section, Youth Section, Minis Section and Referees Section. The Ealing Trailfinders first team finished as champions in National League 1 for season 2012–13 and won promotion, for the first time, to the second tier of the English rugby union leagues, the RFU Championship. After one season they finished in twelfth place and were relegated back to National League 1.
The Men's Section runs four teams, competing in The Shield and the Middlesex Merit Leagues, and Middlesex Veterans League. The Academy and Youth Sections are for players aged 13 to 23 and the new Academy feeds players directly into senior rugby. The youth teams cater for boys and girls at all levels of ability and currently have players representing the county at all age group levels, as well as players just being introduced to the game. The youth play in the Hertfordshire and Middlesex leagues and, in season 2011–12, were league winners at U14 level as well as winning Division Three at U16 level. The club is active at all levels. The mini and youth sections have teams in several age groups with over 750 registered players, making it the biggest club in Middlesex and one of the largest in the country. The club's junior teams are regular winners of County Festivals, and champions of the Herts and Middlesex Leagues for Youth Rugby.
The club has developed a pathway for female players starting at 10 and running through to U18. Known as the Emeralds, this section has provided players to the England Elite Programme. The club has also seen players develop through the new structures to play for England and U.S.
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1869 – 1995
The team played its first match in 1869[a] on Ealing Common, prior to the founding of the Rugby Football Union in 1871. The early years saw regular fixtures against the likes of Wasps, London Irish, Harlequins, Richmond and Blackheath with 75% win rate for a long period.
Ealing Rugby Club's centenary match was played against Harlequins in 1970. In the 1970s and ’80s Ealing supplied many county level players for Middlesex. In 1987 the club finished top of London Division 1 and during the next six years was never lower than 2nd in London 1 nor higher than 10th in National 5. Ealing won the Middlesex cup three times in this period.
1995 – present
In 1996 Ealing were relegated from London 1. In response, the club formed youth and minis sections, and moved to a new ground at Trailfinders Sports Club in 1999. The Club has been awarded two RFU Presidents Awards, the first in 2007 for its work on referee development that has extended into a national programme, and the second in 2008 for coaching excellence. In 2009, the club fielded two first team players who had been developed through the Juniors.
In the 2009–10, season the Club was the only team in the National Leagues to score more than 1,000 points, averaging more than 36 in each game. The club narrowly missed out on promotion to National One by losing to Barking RFC by 2 points and Rosslyn Park by 1.
In 2010–11, the club started its Community Rugby programme providing coaching support and access to the game to schools and other groups throughout Ealing and West London. During this season, Ealing's winger Phil Chesters scored 70 tries which is the record for the most tries in an English Rugby season.
2007–08: National Division 3 South, 3rd place Mounts Bay 1st; Cinderford 2nd
2008–09: National Division 3 South, 3rd place London Scottish 1st; Rosslyn Park 2nd
2009–10: National League 2 South, 3rd place Barking 1st; Rosslyn Park 2nd
2010–11: National League 2 South, 1st place Jersey 2nd
2011–12: National League 1, 2nd place Jersey 1st
2012–13: National League 1, 1st place Esher 2nd
2013–14: RFU Championship, 12th
Midway through the season long-serving director of rugby Mike Cudmore announced that he would be stepping down at the season's end. Head coach and fly-half Ben Ward was appointed director of coaching from the start of the 2014–15 season. After fighting against relegation for the majority of the season, Ealing Trailfinders were eventually relegated on the final day of the season by one point after they lost at home to Rotherham Titans, while Jersey won away to Bedford Blues
2014–15: National League 1, 1st
Ealing Trailfinders quickly established themselves in first place in National 1 and they won the title with a haul of 136 points, nine ahead of their nearest rivals Rosslyn Park.
2015-2016: RFU Championship, 11th
Ealing had another tough season in life back in the Championship, however were able to beat Birmingham Moseley on the last day of the season, ensuring survival in the second division of English Rugby.
2016-2017: RFU Championship : 3rd
Ealing Trailfinders announced the appointment of Alex Codling as Head Coach at Ealing, with Ben Ward being named as director of rugby. The Club also signed long time servant of London Scottish and Championship veteran Mark Bright, who became captain on a regular basis as the season progressed. Ealing's season progressed well, winning important games against strong opposition such as Cornish Pirates and Jersey reds and only losing 23-24 to eventual league winners London Irish, where Ealing were winning up until the last minute of the game. Ealing reached the Play-offs, eventually finishing 3rd, the highest league position the club had ever achieved. They faced Yorkshire Carnegie, who in the first leg beat Ealing 34-16. The 2nd leg ended 20-18 to Ealing with a standout end to end try by Luke Peters at the death. However this was not enough, as Carnegie progressed to the final (agg 52-36).
2017-2018: RFU Championship : 2nd
Ealing Trailfinders started the 2017/2018 campaign after having their most successful season in the club's history. At the start of the season, Mark Bright was named Ealing's Club Captain. The Trailfinders also brought in many marquee signings, including internationals such as Andrew Durutalo, Grayson Hart, Shane O'Leary and Djustice Sears-Duru. Ealing started the season with a tight 29-28 win against Cornish Pirates. However Ealing maintained a 100% win status in the opening weeks of the season, including a 72-12 rout of London Scottish in front of Sky Sports cameras. On 1 October Ealing faced the formidable Bristol at Ashton Gate. The Trailsmen were chasing the score for most of the game thanks to early tries from Alapati Leiua and Ross McMillan, giving Bristol momentum which lasted for a large amount of the game. However Ealing fought their way back into the game thanks to a dominant Ealing pack, which allowed Alun Walker and Will Davis to score. Ealing led by one point at the 72nd minute, however a well-worked Bristol try from the halfway line and a penalty right at the death cruelly denied Ealing the win or a losing bonus point.
Ealing bounced back well with an emphatic 31-8 victory against Jersey Reds and continued this impressive form, only having a small blip against Nottingham and losing by one point after conceding three tries in the early stages of the game. The Trailfinders also easily won topped their British and Irish cup pool, with impressive wins against Connacht 'A' (78-12) (71-14) and Rotherham Titans (45-10).
Ealing met Bristol again in February at Vallis Way and lost controversially 27-28 in appalling conditions. Bristol were awarded a Try which (shown by the TMO) was a knock on and No.3 Sione Faletau was only given a yellow card for multiple punches to the head of an Ealing player. Although it meant that promotion hopes were dampened significantly, it meant more focus could be put on the British and Irish Cup campaign.
Most impressively, Ealing pulled off a 23-23 draw against Yorkshire Carnegie with only 19 players. At one point in the game, Ealing had 6 front rowers in the scrum and five academy players on the field. Reon Joseph, an academy player, won MOTM, with two magnificent individual tries.
On 21 April Ealing faced Bedford Blues in the Semi Final of the British and Irish Cup. Another strong performance from the Trailfinders, including one of the tries of the season from Luke Carter resulted in Ealing winning 36-16 against a well-drilled Bedford team.
Ealing faced Leinster 'A' in the Final on 12 May 2018. Leinster brought a strong team to Vallis Way, including Irish internationals such as Adam Byrne. A tight first few minutes saw Leinster lead 7-3 in greasy conditions. However, as the second half started, Ealing pulled away from the Irish outfit with Joe Munro scoring from a James Cordy-Redden offload. The captain Mark Bright also crashed over the line from a strongly set Ealing maul, confirming the Trailfinders cup victory. In the end Ealing came out 22-7 Victors, the last victors of the competition.
Towards the end of the season Ealing announced over 25 signings, including the likes of Sam Olver, Guy Armitage, Craig Willis, Harry Sloan, Jordy Reid, and the re-signing of Andrew Durutalo (who had left earlier in the season).
Ealing also released about 3/4 of their team from this season.
In order to be a premiership club, Ealing must increase the capacity of Vallis Way or ground share with a local club.
- London Division 1 champions: 1987–88
- Middlesex Senior Cup winners (7): 1989, 1990, 1994, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
- London 2 (north-east v north-west) promotion playoff winners: 2002-03
- London Division 2 North champions: 2004–05
- London 1 v South West 1 promotion playoff winners: 2006–07
- National League 2 South champions: 2010–11
- National League 1 champions (twice): 2012–13, 2014–15
- British and Irish Cup winners: 2017–18
- RFU Championship Cup winners: 2018–19
|Club||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Points for||Points against||Points diff||Try bonus||Loss bonus||Points|
|Green background is the promotion place. Pink background is the relegation place.|
Updated: 21 April 2019
Source: "Greene King IPA Championship". England Rugby.
Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.
- Internationally capped players in bold. Their nationality is fixed to international team (World Rugby regulations).
- In all cases nationality shown is the country that the player represents in international rugby union.
- According to Ealing Traifinders official website, the club played its first match in 1869 but the official date of establishment was set up in 1871.