Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club

Coordinates: 51°31′31″N 0°19′48″W / 51.525175°N 0.330042°W / 51.525175; -0.330042
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Ealing Trailfinders
Full nameEaling Trailfinders Rugby Club
UnionMiddlesex RFU, Surrey RFU
Founded1871; 152 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)Steven Shingler
League(s)RFU Championship
Team kit
Official website

Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club is an English professional rugby union club based in West London. The club's first team were the champions of the RFU Championship in 2021/22 but were considered ineligible for promotion to Premiership Rugby as their home ground's capacity is too small. They were promoted to the league after they won National League 1 in 2014–15.

Structure of the club[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.

2015–16: 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.

2016–17: 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 team won the final of the British and Irish Cup against Leinster 'A' 22–7, 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.

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]

2021-22: Championship winner

Following the final round of fixtures, Trailfinders remained top of the table and were 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]

2022–2023: RFU Championship holders

Ealing entered the season as reigning champions, and had finished in the top two in each of the last five years. However, it was announced in February 2023 that Trailfinders were once again ineligible for promotion to the Premiership due to their ground not meeting the criteria. They did not nominate an alternative ground for audit.[11]

Ealing 1871[edit]

Ealing Trailfinders also has an amateur team called Ealing 1871 formed in 2019.[12] 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.[13]

Club honours[edit]

Ealing Trailfinders

Ealing 1871 (Amateur)

Current standings[edit]

2022–23 RFU Championship Table
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Losing bonus Points
1 Jersey Reds 22 20 1 1 804 391 413 18 0 100
2 Ealing Trailfinders 22 19 0 3 915 359 556 19 3 98
3 Coventry 22 17 1 4 733 523 210 18 1 88
4 Bedford Blues 22 12 0 10 697 619 78 16 3 67
5 Cornish Pirates 22 13 0 9 510 516 −6 7 2 61
6 Doncaster Knights 22 10 0 12 565 583 18 9 3 52
7 Hartpury 22 10 0 12 504 571 −67 7 3 50
8 Ampthill 22 8 1 13 512 626 −114 10 3 47
9 Nottingham 22 7 0 15 548 655 −107 12 3 43
10 Caldy 22 7 0 15 452 721 −269 8 3 39
11 London Scottish 22 4 0 18 419 706 −287 5 5 26
R Richmond 22 3 1 18 413 762 −389 5 4 21
  • 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 Champions (there is no promotion this season).
Red background will be relegated.
Updated: 29 April 2023
Source: "The Championship". England Rugby.

Current squad[edit]

The Ealing Trailfinders senior squad for the 2022–23 season.[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
Matt Cornish Hooker England England
Jan-Henning Campher Hooker South Africa South Africa
Kevin O'Byrne Hooker Ireland Ireland
Cameron Terry Hooker England England
Henry Walker Hooker England England
Mike Willemse Hooker South Africa South Africa
Biyi Alo Prop England England
Lewis Boyce Prop England England
George Davis Prop England England
James Gibbons Prop England England
Ross Kane Prop Ireland Ireland
Oisin Kearney Prop England England
Sami Mavinga Prop France France
Jimmy Roots Prop New Zealand New Zealand
Brad Thyer Prop Wales Wales
Kyle Whyte Prop South Africa South Africa
Matt Cannon Lock England England
Danny Cutmore Lock England England
Andrew Davidson Lock Scotland Scotland
Bobby de Wee Lock South Africa South Africa
David Douglas-Bridge Lock England England
Simon Linsell Lock England England
Barney Maddison Lock England England
Rob Farrar Back row England England
Will Montgomery Back row England England
Ollie Newman Back row England England
David O'Connor Back row Ireland Ireland
Jordy Reid Back row Australia Australia
Rayn Smid Back row South Africa South Africa
Josh Taylor Back row Scotland Scotland
Simon Uzokwe Back row England England
Player Position Union
Jordan Burns Scrum-half England England
Ollie Fox Scrum-half England England
Craig Hampson Scrum-half England England
Dan Hiscocks Scrum-half Wales Wales
Lloyd Williams 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 Hitchcock Centre England England
Patrick Howard Centre South Africa South Africa
James Little Centre New Zealand New Zealand
Billy Twelvetrees Centre England England
Tom Collins Wing England England
James Cordy-Redden Wing England England
Nathan Earle Wing England England
Josh Gillespie Wing England England
Jonah Holmes Wing Wales Wales
Cian Kelleher Wing Ireland Ireland
Angus Kernohan Wing Ireland Ireland
Isaac Shaw Wing England England
Luke Daniels Fullback South Africa South Africa
Marcus Kershaw Fullback England England

Academy squad[edit]

The Ealing Trailfinders academy squad is:[15]

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
Loïc Keasey Hooker England England
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
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 ineligible for Premiership promotion again". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 February 2023.
  12. ^ "Ealing Trailfinders 1871 – our new Team for 2019". Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club. 7 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Men's London & South East Level 8 and below leagues 2019–20" (PDF). England Rugby. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Professional Squaddate=13 August 2022". Ealing Trailfinders. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  15. ^ "Ealing Academy Squad". Ealing Trailfinders. Retrieved 10 August 2019.

External links[edit]

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