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Led by two tries from inspirational skipper Jordon Poole Coventry claimed a thrilling 34-32 success over table-topping Ealing.

The blue-and-whites did it the hard way by handing their opponents a ten-point head start before forcing their way back into the contest through Poole’s brace plus an Ollie Betteridge touchdown.

The lead then changed hands four times in a tense second half before Cov held on as Ealing – who missed five of their six kicks at goal – pressed hard for a winning score.

The blue-and-whites got off to the worst possible start by conceding two tries in the opening five minutes.

The first was scored by Ealing full back Jonah Holmes following a Craig Willis cross-field chip and some neat handling.

And winger James Cordy-Redden quickly followed his back three colleague on to the scoresheet when the visitors created an overlap from a midfield scrum.

Willis failed to land either conversion which meant Cov were back within three-point range after Will Wand offloaded cleverly to Betteridge who went under the posts for a try which Pat Pellegrini upgraded.

And the hosts were in the lead at the end of the opening quarter after Ealing overthrew a defensive lineout and Poole gratefully plunged over for a try which his fly half again improved.

Pellegrini was then wide with an angled penalty attempt following Ryan Hutler’s break before Tobi Wilson’s last-ditch tackle halted Andrew Davidson’s 50-metre break.

However, Ealing then hit their hosts with another quickfire try-double through Nathan Earle and Craig Hampson.

The big winger got on the end of a flowing move following Andrew Davidson’s break before the former Wasps no.9 scampered down the blindside to score from 40 metres.

The hosts had the last word before the break when Poole applied the finish to a good move in which Will Chudley and Matt Kvesic featured strongly.

Jimmy Martin scores Coventry’s fourth try (credit: John Coles)

Pellegrini added a penalty to his three first-half conversions soon after the restart but Cov then lost Tom Ball to the sin bin for killing the ball in deep defence on his own line.

And Ealing took full advantage by driving the Championship’s leading scorer, hooker Matt Cornish, over from close range for their fifth try.

After Pellegrini pushed a 40-metre penalty wide, Cov banked a bonus point when their fly half sent Jimmy Martin under the posts for a converted score with a well-timed pass.

With Pellegrini limping, Tobi Wilson then stepped up to kick Cov into a seven-point lead with a well-struck penalty only for Earle to squeeze in the corner for Ealing’s sixth try.

After Billy Twelvetrees’ touchline conversion drifted wide of the posts the visitors had two minutes to find a winning score but resolute Cov held firm to clinch a famous win.


Coventry: Wilson; Hutler, Wand, Betteridge, Martin; Pellegrini (Mitchell 76), Chudley; Trinder (Nairau 63), Poole (Biggs 76-79), Nicol (Salt 74); Tyas, Nkwocha; Ball (Owen 76), Kvesic, Nayalo (Ma’asi 67)

Replacements: Lane, Opoku

Ealing Trailfinders: Holmes; Cordy-Redden, Bird-Tulloch, Twelvetrees, Earle; Willis (Lancaster 64), Hampson; Goodrick-Clarke (Whyte 69), Cornish, Alo (Roots 73); De Wee, Davidson; Farrar (Montgomery 28), Newman, Smid

Replacements: Willemse, Cutmore, Burns, O’Brien

Referee: Tom Foley

Attendance: 3182

Half-time: Coventry 21-22 Ealing


Coventry Rugby:

Tries: Betteridge (12), Poole (17) (40), Martin (64)

Cons: Pellegrini (12) (17) (40) (64)

Pens: Pellegrini (43), Wilson (74)


Tries: Holmes (1), Cordy-Redden (5), Earle (33) (79), Hampson (38), Cornish (52)

Cons: Willis (33)