They battled a fierce wind and a second-half Ealing performance Stirling himself described as ‘clinical’ as the second-placed London side turned around a 7-0 half-time deficit to take a bonus-point win.
A committed Carnegie defence conceded four tries in a fraught second half but were perhaps unlucky to do so given a balance of play that saw the hosts look as dangerous with the ball in hand as the victors.
“Recently after a match I’ve been pleased with the outcome but the performance hasn’t quite been there,” said a defiant Stirling. “Today I thought the performance was pretty good. I can’t question the boy’s commitment, application, attitude and desire.”
With broken play at a premium throughout, Wasps-owned Jacob Umaga broke the deadlock with an ‘uncle Tana’-esque run that gave enterprising No 10 Jade Te Rure the opportunity to convert his own try on the half-hour mark.
An impressive 10-minute resistance on their own line kept the scoreboard at 7-0 at the break, before a whirlwind second half that saw every blink of a Carnegie eye punished.
The defeat puts an end to a run of seven consecutive wins, including three in the league, that has seen Carnegie pull away from the foot of the table.
Stirling’s side is a work in progress and to fulfill their ambition of challenging for a Premiership place in the seasons to come they will need to get the better of close matches against high-flying opposition such as Ealing.
The Kiwi said it was all part of the learning curve.
“We made a couple of incorrect reads in the second half but they were pretty clinical to be fair,” he added.
“The wind was a factor, it probably caused us to be a little bit more conservative in our play, as it did the opposition.
“But in terms of performance I don’t think there was too much difference between the two halves.”
Hooker Joe Buckle said the Carnegie dressing room was a “sombre” place following the defeat, with the general consensus being that they should have taken something out of the game.
“We know that we weren’t accurate enough today,” said Buckle. “The big positive was that our emotion was there.
“We tried hard but sometimes that is just not good enough.”
Yorkshire Carnegie: Umaga; Elder, Forsyth, Lucock (Watkins, 65), Niko; Te Rure, Bruzulier (Wolstenholme, 72); Thomas, Buckle (Donnellan, 65), Foster (Mitchell, 60), Lemalu (Romaine, 74), Smith, R Mayhew, Kiri Kiri (Wilson, 72), Temm. Unused replacements: N Mayhew.
Ealing Trailfinders: Lydon; Harries, Jones, Sloan, Cordy Redden; May, Burns; Lundberg (Els, 52), Cornish (Millar-Mills, 52), Tampin, West, Casson, Landry (O’Regan, 28), Reid, Smid. Unused replacements: Edgson, Kirwan, Foley, Willis.
Referee: Greg MacDonald (RFU).