Much-changed Ely Tigers roar to conquer Crusaders with super seven-try display
- Credit: Archant
Ely Tigers remained third in London Three Eastern Counties after a fine 43-17 win against Norwich-based Crusaders on Saturday.
Tigers travelled to Norfolk with a much-changed side but still came away with the points after an impressive display.
The opening try came inside five minutes as Erwin Noteboom found himself in space to touch down, with Joel Scott Paul adding the conversion.
Noteboom went from hero to villain on 15 minutes as he was shown a yellow card, reducing Ely to 14 men and the home side applied pressure during his absence.
But it was Ely who added to the scoreline when an overthrown ball from a Crusaders lineout was picked up by Chris McGrath, who kicked forward and saw Jim Storey race over the line unchallenged to make it 12-0.
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The home side had a great chance to reply on the half-hour mark, but the final pass was dropped and cleared by Ely.
Crusaders did manage to score a converted try before the interval, though, to cut the gap to five points, but Ely began the second half well as McGrath kicked upfield for captain Matt McCarthy to touch down.
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Scott Paul added the conversion but Ely switched off from the restart and allowed Crusaders to reply with a try in the corner to pull to within seven points.
Byron Reed, making his first start of the season for Ely's first team, chased down and blocked a Crusaders kick, with the ball bouncing towards the try line for Storey to dive over for his second try of the game.
Jacob Muncey proved too powerful for the home defence as he brushed off tackles to score under the posts, for Scott Paul to add the extras.
And Scott Paul then touched down, after Reed was involved, although he could not add the conversion this time.
Crusaders then pinned Tigers in their own half for a spell, but the defence held firm under pressure and McCarthy cleared the touch.
Alfie Ramswell added a further try, with Mitch Kennett providing the telling pass, and Scott Paul converted before Crusaders had the last word with a consolation try in the corner.
Ely now face a break from action, before they return to their campaign with a trip to mid-table outfit Fakenham on Saturday week (February 1).