Gallant Tigers come up short against Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 10:10 28 February 2011

Rugby

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ELY had plenty of positives to take away from an absorbing tussle with runaway league leaders West Norfolk on Saturday.

Rugby

West Norfolk 17

Ely Tigers 11

ELY had plenty of positives to take away from an absorbing tussle with runaway league leaders West Norfolk on Saturday.

Karl Hayler’s Ely were soundly beaten by Norfolk back in September but demonstrated how far they have progressed this season with a battling performance that ensured the home side were fighting until the final whistle.

The loss, which earned them a bonus point for being within seven points of the winning side, brought an end to the Tigers three match winning run.

Ely went into the game with minimal changes to their side from the previous week, Todd Wollard in for Neil Murton and Jack Brownlie for Tim Mills.

West Norfolk’s pitch looked to be in good order but as the game kicked off heavy rain set in. Both teams battled hard in the worsening conditions with the home side taking the early advantage scoring first through their forwards as the Ely defence toiled.

Ely remained positive however, and were able to re organise their defensive efforts keeping the home side at bay with a try saving tackle from captain Karl Hayler, frustrating West Norfolk further.

As the conditions worsened mistakes began to creep in from both sides, but the Tigers were able to keep focussed long enough to put points on the board, Jamie Russell drilling over a penalty before Lee Coulson ran over an important try to keep Ely in the match after the home side scored a second try.

After the break Ely returned to the game a different side and, using their weight advantage in the forwards, they took a very basic pick and drive approach to the game making good ground whenever they had possession.

Cover tackling and turnovers from Sean and Mitchell Kennet and from centre John Dibb saw the advantage swing into the Tigers’ favour. As the half rolled on the rain finally stopped and Ely gained another three points from a penalty.

The half then became all Ely as they laid seige to the West Norfolk try line. Basic handling errors cost the Tigers several scoring opportunities however, and the game ended with Ely narrowly short.

Ely Standard man of the match: John Dibb

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