Tigers dig in
Eastern Counties Division Two Ely 12 Old Cantabrigians 3 DOGGED defending saw the Tigers establish a two-point gap at the top of the table. The two sides went into the match level on points at the summit of the league, with Ely having a game in hand. T
Ely 12 Old Cantabrigians 3
DOGGED defending saw the Tigers establish a two-point gap at the top of the table.
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The two sides went into the match level on points at the summit of the league, with Ely having a game in hand.
The visitors kicked off on a boggy pitch against a strong wind and soon applied pressure deep in Ely territory.
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Ely slowly fought back and, after a series of attacks, were boosted when their opponent's hooker was sent off for throwing punches.
After further pressure, Ely ran in a free-kick, using a practised three-quarter move, from which skipper Gavin Ross exploited a gap and scored under the posts.
Ed Fahy kicked the conversion to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
Despite losing Stacey Mould to the sin-bin, Ely continued to dominate territorially, with Sam Sanders-Hewett's booming kicks keeping the visitors pinned back.
But poor finishing and strong defending meant that Ely were unable to increase their lead before the break.
Ely were dealt a blow when Mark Mitzman was sin-binned, almost immediately after the re-start, and facing a strong wind, they still defended superbly.
Within this the centre-field worked particularly well with Fahy outstanding and Tim Mills' covering and tackling invaluable.
Yet, just before Mitzman returned, Ely conceded a penalty which Old Cantabrigians kicked to reduce the lead to 7-3.
Ely then lost superb hooker Alan Mason to injury and he was replaced by dynamic Ricky Neal.
Ely attacked tirelessly, and when they won two penalties, deep in their opponents' territory, the second was taken quickly, James Dening was picked out unmarked, and he ran in to give the Tigers a 12-3 lead.
Ely began to use the backs more as their opponents tired in the closing stages and were denied several times by last-ditch tackles.
Ely skipper Ross said: "Our defence and effort in those conditions was superb, I was very proud of them.