Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club

English rugby union club, based in London

Rugby team
Ealing Trailfinders
Trailfinders rfc logo.png
Full nameEaling Trailfinders Rugby Club
UnionMiddlesex RFU, Surrey RFU
Founded1871; 151 years ago (1871)[a]
LocationWest Ealing, Ealing, London, England
Ground(s)Trailfinders Sports Ground (Capacity: 5,000 (2,200 seats))
PresidentDick Craig
Coach(es)Ben Ward
Captain(s)Stephen Shingler
League(s)RFU Championship
2021–221st (Champions)
Team kit
Official website

Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club is an English professional rugby union club based in West London. The club's first team are the current champions of the RFU Championship but will remain in that league due to ineligibility for promotion to Premiership Rugby. They were promoted to the league after they won National League 1 in 2014–15.

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. They were then promoted once more the following season and have remained in the Championship ever since.

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.[citation needed] The club's junior teams are regular winners of County Festivals, and champions of the Herts and Middlesex Leagues for Youth Rugby.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]


1869 – 1995

Founded as Ealing Football Club (RU), the team played its first match in 1869[2] on Ealing Common, prior to the formation 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.[citation needed]

Leopold de Rothschild was the first president of the Club and held this office from 1896 to 1914.[3]

Between 1894 and 1958 the club moved location numerous times – Hanger Lane – West Middlesex Polo Club – Gunnersbury ParkDrayton GreenSyon Lane, Horsenden Hill.

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.[4]

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[5]
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 has 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.

Ealing went from strength to strength after the Bristol game, beating Jersey, Cornish Pirates (in the quarter-final of the British and Irish Cup) and Hartpury . Most impressively, Ealing pulled off a 23–23 draw against Yorkshire Carnegie with only 19 players. At one point in the game, Ealing had six front rowers in the scrum and five academy players on the field. Reon Joseph, an academy player, won MOTM, with two 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 winners 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.

During a Talksport Interview, Ben Ward, Director of Rugby announced that Ealing wanted promotion to the premiership due to the impending danger of ring-fencing.

Trailfinders also finished 2nd in the following two seasons.

2020–21 Seeking Premiership Promotion.

Trailfinders finished top of the table during the 2020–21 Championship season and contested a two-legged play-off with Saracens for promotion. In order to be a premiership club, Ealing must increase the capacity of Vallis Way or ground share with a local club. In June 2021, it was confirmed that a ground-share deal at Saracens' Copthall Stadium was in place but the RFU would not permit promotion as a deadline had been missed. Ealing intended to appeal this decision as they claim they had not had sufficient information from the league.[6]

2022: Championship winner

Following the final round of fixtures, Trailfinders remained top of the table and where therefore crowned champions on 2 April 2022.[7]

It had previously been announced that they were once again ineligible for promotion due to capacity of Vallis Way.[8] Trailfinders expressed their disappointment to this ruling stating they had a three-year sustainable plan to reach the required capacity.[9] Their appeal against the decision was withdrawn in April 2022.[10]

Ealing 1871

Ealing Trailfinders also has an amateur team called Ealing 1871 formed in 2019.[11] Ealing 1871 entered the English league structure for the first team during the 2019–20 season, experiencing instant success as they finished as champions of Herts/Middlesex 2 in their debut season.[12]

Club honours

Ealing Trailfinders

Ealing 1871 (Amateur)

Current standings

2022–23 RFU Championship Table
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Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Losing bonus Points Adj Pts
1 Ealing Trailfinders 7 7 0 0 330 112 218 7 0 35
2 Jersey Reds 7 7 0 0 232 119 113 5 0 33
3 Coventry 7 5 0 2 176 201 −25 5 0 25
4 Bedford Blues 7 4 0 3 240 219 21 5 1 22
5 Nottingham 7 4 0 3 216 196 20 5 1 22
6 Doncaster Knights 7 4 0 3 209 156 53 4 1 21
7 Cornish Pirates 7 4 0 3 141 140 1 1 0 17
8 Richmond 7 2 0 5 170 252 −82 4 2 14
9 Ampthill 7 2 0 5 179 175 4 3 2 13
10 Hartpury 7 2 0 5 148 203 −55 2 2 12
11 Caldy 7 1 0 6 165 231 −66 4 1 9
12 London Scottish 7 0 0 7 127 329 −202 2 0 2
  • If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
  1. Number of matches won
  2. Difference between points for and against
  3. Total number of points for
  4. Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
  5. Number of matches won excluding the first match, then the second and so on until the tie is settled
Green background Championship winners will be promoted to Premiership Rugby subject to minimum standards criteria.
Red background will be relegated.
Updated: 17 November 2022
Source: "The Championship". England Rugby.

Current squad

The Ealing Trailfinders senior squad for the 2022–23 season.[13]

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Jan-Henning Campher Hooker South Africa South Africa
Shaun Malton Hooker South Africa South Africa
Kevin O'Byrne Hooker Ireland Ireland
Cameron Terry Hooker England England
Morgan Veness Hooker Wales Wales
Alun Walker Hooker Scotland Scotland
George Davis Prop England England
Will Davis Prop England England
James Gibbons Prop England England
Ross Kane Prop Ireland Ireland
Oisin Kearney Prop England England
Jimmy Roots Prop New Zealand New Zealand
Lewis Thiede Prop England England
Kyle Whyte Prop South Africa South Africa
Lefty Zigiriadis Prop South Africa South Africa
Matt Cannon Lock England England
Danny Cutmore Lock England England
Bobby de Wee Lock South Africa South Africa
David Douglas-Bridge Lock England England
Simon Linsell Lock England England
Barney Maddison Lock England England
Jack Digby Back row Australia Australia
Harry Dugmore Back row England England
Rob Farrar Back row England England
Adam Korczyk Back row Australia Australia
Will Montgomery Back row England England
Ollie Newman Back row England England
Max Northcote-Green Back row England England
David O'Connor Back row Ireland Ireland
Rayn Smid Back row South Africa South Africa
Carlo Tizzano Back row Australia Australia
Simon Uzokwe Back row England England
Player Position Union
Jordan Burns Scrum-half England England
Ollie Fox Scrum-half England England
Jack Grant Scrum-half Australia Australia
Craig Hampson Scrum-half England England
Dan Hiscocks Scrum-half Wales Wales
Dan Lancaster Fly-half England England
Steven Shingler Fly-half Wales Wales
Craig Willis Fly-half England England
Reuben Bird-Tulloch Centre England England
Max Bodilly Centre England England
Tom Georgiou Centre England England
Patrick Howard Centre South Africa South Africa
James Little Centre New Zealand New Zealand
Peter Robb Centre Ireland Ireland
James Cordy-Redden Wing England England
Josh Gillespie Wing England England
Jonah Holmes Wing Wales Wales
Angus Kernohan Wing Ireland Ireland
Cian Kelleher Wing Ireland Ireland
Jack Metcalf Wing England England
Isaac Shaw Wing England England
Luke Daniels Fullback South Africa South Africa
David Johnston Fullback Ireland Ireland
Marcus Kershaw Fullback England England

Academy squad

The Ealing Trailfinders academy squad is:[14]

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Max Brewer Hooker England England
Freddie Fearnley Hooker England England
Niall Hardiman Hooker Ireland Ireland
Arun Watkins Hooker England England
Teyi Adeyeye Prop England England
Ash Chirima Prop England England
Noah de Wild Prop England England
Brandon Jewell Prop South Africa South Africa
George Okolo Prop England England
Oscar Berry Lock England England
Callum Ross Lock England England
Josh Taylor Lock Scotland Scotland
Andrew Fadera Back row England England
Toby Ponsford Back row England England
Zach Toerien Back row South Africa South Africa
Player Position Union
Lewis Eaton Scrum-half England England
Harry Johnson Scrum-half England England
Ciaran Roberts Scrum-half Ireland Ireland
Leon Wood Scrum-half England England
Ethan Morgan Fly-half Wales Wales
Werner Nel Fly-half South Africa South Africa
Brandon Jackson Centre England England
Bradley Law Centre England England
Josh Shing Centre South Africa South Africa
Scott Harman Wing England England
Freddie Hayes Wing England England
Tom Jones Wing England England
Reon Lewis Wing England England
Luke Trigg Wing England England
Jared Rees Fullback South Africa South Africa


  1. ^ 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.[1]


  1. ^ "Club History". Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  2. ^ www.respiceprospice.co.uk
  3. ^ www.respiceprospice.co.uk
  4. ^ History of the Club at official website
  5. ^ "Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club - West London".
  6. ^ "Ealing dispute RFU ruling on failure to meet Premiership stadium criteria". The Guardian. 12 June 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  7. ^ "Ealing Trailfinders Crowned Champions". www.championshiprugby.co.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  8. ^ "Update on Minimum Standards Criteria for Promotion". www.championshiprugby.co.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  9. ^ "Club Statement - RFU Minimum Standards Criteria". www.ealingtrailfinders.com. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  10. ^ "news". www.ealingtrailfinders.com. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  11. ^ "Ealing Trailfinders 1871 – our new Team for 2019". Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club. 7 June 2019.
  12. ^ "Men's London & South East Level 8 and below leagues 2019–20" (PDF). England Rugby. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Professional Squaddate=13 August 2022". Ealing Trailfinders. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  14. ^ "Ealing Academy Squad". Ealing Trailfinders. Retrieved 10 August 2019.

External links

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Related articles
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Ealing Trailfinders – current squad
  • Ben Ward

Coordinates: 51°31′31″N 0°19′48″W / 51.525175°N 0.330042°W / 51.525175; -0.330042