Ely Tigers flying high after 24-17 victory takes them top

WINGERS Charlie Coupland and Giles Skiba helped Ely Tigers power to the top of the league with a 24-17 victory over Mersea Island.

The Tigers sit top of Eastern Counties 1 after their speedy back line ensured Saturday’s trip to Colchester ended in success.

Man of the match Coupland opened the scoring after 20 minutes when he collected John Dibb’s pass, crashed through two tackles and touched down in the corner.

The conversion was missed and, moments later, Ely were reduced to 14 men as Sam Benzie was sin-binned for an infringement as he retrieved the ball from an opponent.

The hosts took advantage of his dismissal by scoring a converted try - but Benzie took revenge minutes after returning to the pitch.

He capitalised on the hard work of his forwards to score under the posts before converting the try himself to give Ely a 12-7 lead at the break.

Mersea Island kicked an early second-half penalty but Ely soon had their third try of the day. Dibb fed Skiba, who raced down the wing to score a try converted by Benzie.

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Again the hosts hit back, scoring a converted try to leave the score at 19-17 with 15 minutes to play.

But Coupland and Skiba were in no mood to let their opponents back into the game and their dazzling running set up the Tigers’ final score.

Coupland sprinted through the home side’s defence and, when he was hauled down yards from the try line, Skiba collected his offload to crash over for his second try.

Ely host mid-table Crusaders on Saturday.