RUGBY: Missed conversions prove costly for Ely Tigers in Eastern Counties League defeat

PUBLISHED: 10:49 24 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:49 24 February 2020

Matt McCarthy gets tackled for Ely Tigers at Thurston. Picture: STEVE WELLS

Matt McCarthy gets tackled for Ely Tigers at Thurston. Picture: STEVE WELLS

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Missed conversions proved costly for Ely Tigers in a wind-affected contest in the London 3 Eastern Counties League on Saturday.

Jacob Muncey brushes aside a tackle for Ely Tigers. Picture: STEVE WELLSJacob Muncey brushes aside a tackle for Ely Tigers. Picture: STEVE WELLS

Tigers succumbed to a 25-20 reverse at lowly Thurston, with Jim Storey, Luke Cornwell, Ryan Clark and Luke Turner coming in, while Tom Green was missing due to injury.

Gusting winds were going to play a part in the match, as Tigers kicked with the wind behind them in the first half.

Joel Scott Paul kicked Ely into the lead after a succession of penalties, before he latched onto a Charlie Coupland pass to score and complete the conversion to stretch their advantage.

Thurston looked to catch Ely off-guard with quick penalties to gain extra yards, and they managed to break the Tigers defence, as well as producing what was a difficult conversion.

Try scorer Charlie Coupland in action for Ely Tigers at Thurston. Picture: STEVE WELLSTry scorer Charlie Coupland in action for Ely Tigers at Thurston. Picture: STEVE WELLS

With the help of missed and slipped tackles, the hosts built on this momentum to cross once again, but back came the visitors following a scrum.

As the ball passed through Clark, Jake Alsop and Scott Paul, there was Coupland to cross over. Although Scott Paul was unable to add the extra points, a handling error denied Tigers the chance to score another try on the stroke of half-time.

The Suffolk side attacked their opponents after the break as Ely were unable to clear, but the visitors remained strong.

But Thurston punished an Ely mistake and with the Tigers struggling to push from their own half, they went further behind to a successful penalty in front of the posts.

A rare surge into the Thurston half created Ely's best chance of the second period, the ball finding its way to Storey on the wing but with the try line looming, a last-gasp tackle denied him and the ball went agonisingly out of play.

The next attack fell to Jacob Muncey who made no mistake where, like many times this season, he brushed aside the tackles to score under the posts, but the conversion was then missed.

Ely did manage to enjoy the closing stages of play with a scrum close to the try line, but Thurston held firm and hung on to clinch the points.

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