Crusaders vanquished by rampant Tigers
ELY Tigers laid down a marker for the new season with an emphatic win over Norwich Crusaders.
Ely Tigers 48
Despite going in at half-time a point behind, Ely came out all guns blazing in the second half and produced a relentless display of attacking rugby that saw them run over five tries.
The sizeable win was enough to see Ely take a share of top spot in the Eastern Counties Division 1 ahead of their clash with Cantabrigian.
The cobwebs of a long summer break were well and truly in evidence early in the match as Ely found themselves 7-0 with just three minutes gone, somewhat of a tepid drive from Crus punching a hole in the Ely line.
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Ely were quick to respond however, forcing two penalties which were successfully converted by Sam Benzie to get themselves back in the game.
With a foothold in the match, Ely were able to notch up their first try of the afternoon, some quick ball along the line proving too much for a sparse Crus defence, with Jamie Russell crashing over the line.
With their noses in front however, Ely appeared to take their foot of the gas, allowing a pacey visiting attack to come to the fore.
Crusaders twice burst through the Ely defences with some excellent sweeping moves that caught the home defence on its heels, moving into a healthy lead midway through the half.
After a frenzied opening salvo both defences settled into the game and provided much stiffer opposition as the half wore on.
Crucially, however, Ely were able to force their way back into contention with a late try from John Hunt, who ran over following an excellent run from deep.
Ely needed just five minutes of the second half to get back on the scoreboard, Charlie Coupland running over after some sinuous passing from the breakdown.
A tiring Crusaders defence looked increasingly despondent as the pressure mounted and there were further scores for Mitch Kennett and Lee Coulson in a ruthless swathe of attacks.
Newboy Sandy Statham dealt the final blow to the wearied Crus defence with just two minutes left in the match, crashing over the line to wrap up a convincing win for Karl Hayler’s men.