Rugby: Tigers claw out victory
RUGBY ROUND-UP Swaffham 3 Ely Tigers 15 AFTER an unusually high number of last minute call-offs by players, Ely arrived at Swaffham short on numbers but big on optimism having beaten Swaffham recently. Unfortunately it did not translate into anything res
Swaffham 3 Ely Tigers 15
AFTER an unusually high number of last minute call-offs by players, Ely arrived at Swaffham short on numbers but big on optimism having beaten Swaffham recently.
Unfortunately it did not translate into anything resembling a good performance.
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However the Tigers did get off to a great start when, after constant pressure in the opposition half, Swaffham killed the ball and skipper Gavin Ross kicked the resulting penalty.
After missing several chances, a well worked line-out move produced fast ball and caught Swaffham on the back foot. The ball was spun down the line with full-back Ed Fahy receiving the ball on the wing and out-sprinting his opposite number to score under the posts. Gavin Ross converted and the lead stretched to 10-0.
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Despite early lessons, good chances created by some great running by Lee Kupyn, were wasted as wrong options were taken by the support allowing Swaffham to gain territory and kick a penalty.
Shortly before half-time a line-out in the Swaffham 22-metre area produced good enough ball for the Ely backs to attack and, as Tom Jackson committed the defence, he released Callum Palmer who slid into the corner for a 15-3 half-time lead.
By now, the muddy pitch was taking its toll on the players and Swaffham used their full substitutes bench to bring on fresh legs.
From this point, Swaffham started to dominate the game for the last 20 minutes. However the Ely defence stood firm with the back row of Ricky Neale, Lee Coulson and Mark Egerton defiant and, despite losing a player to the sin-bin for 10 minutes, repelled all attacks to leave Ely with a hard fought 15-3 win.
Ely II 41 Old Cantabrigians II 0
ELY II started their New Year campaign with a merit table match against Old Cantabrigians on Saturday.
Early in the game the Tigers produced an impressive handling movement leading to a try for centre Andy Hugo.
Then fly-half Matt Daybell broke the defence line and dived over to score for a 10-0 lead. The Tigers forwards were in full control in the tight, giving the dominant Ely midfield lots of opportunities to dazzle with their attacking flair.
Centre Iain Scott outpaced the defence from 40 metres to score then, after another long break, rolled off the maul to score in the corner. The last try was converted from the touchline by Daybell for a 22-0 half-time lead.
The second-half had barely started when Sean Kennett scored with a swerving solo run which Daybell converted. Ely entered a scrappy period but managed to raise themselves and sustain a period of pressure, eventually rolling a maul for Sean Kennett to break off and score. Daybell again converted for a 31-0 scoreline.
Finally a lovely bit of running, handling and support by the Tigers set up a good attacking line-out close to the Old Cantabrigians line.
There it was won scrappily, but moved to the backs. Their speed of handling in the face of the defence was a delight to see as they moved to to the far corner where the overlapping full-back, Kieran Kennett, dived into the corner to score for a 41-0 result.
St Neots III 17 Ely Tigers III 7
THE new year saw Ely III still awaiting the return of seasonal stragglers from festivities. However they welcomed anew Jeff Pratt, Robert Lowe and the return of Clinton Chivers to make a complete 15 for the away trip.
St Neots have had a good season boosted by exceptional colt players but yet again the Tigers held them to a tight match, which saw Ely break the St Neots defence down on three occasions although only one was successful.
The game kicked off with both teams evenly matched up front, but early on St Neots caught Ely asleep and crossed for a try. The Tigers responded with a lot of pressure, resulting in a penalty close to St Neots line. A long pass allowed Tom Ashman to put Chris Jones over for a try, converted by Mark Slater so that Ely turned around at half-time leading 7-5.
The second half brought much the same, but St Neots brought on fresh legs. Pressure from the St Neots pack resulted in two more scores, only one converted, for a 17-7 score.
Then Ely spurned a simple three-point penalty chance and tried unsuccessfully for the try.