Tigers keep biting back up the table

ELY Tigers continued to gain ground on the league’s top teams with a battling win at Norwich on Saturday.

Karl Hayler’s men have enjoyed a resurgence in form since the new year and made light of several injury concerns to register their fourth win in five games, moving them to within 10 points of fifth-placed Southwold.

Ely were without several first choice players for the trip to Norfolk due to injuries to Lloyd Palmer, Dan Coulson and captain Hayler.

A reshuffle by vice-captain Jamie Russell saw development squad players Tim Mills, Jamie Night, Jack Brownlie and Todd Wollard drafted in to fill the gaps.

The early exchanges saw both sides play a cagey game up front and in the back lines and the game was largely played between the 22 metre lines, though Ely did sneak into the lead with a penalty.

As the game restarted after a break for a neck injury, Ely continued at pace but struggled to make real inroads.

The second half saw much of the same rugby being played with both sides hitting hard in defence but making basic errors in attack.

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Eventually, Ely started to pick holes in the Norwich defence and their persistent probing allowed Kieran Kennet to find space to forge up the pitch. Kennet shrugged off several challenges from Crusaders players before finding an offload to Lee Coulson who made no mistake in slipping through under the posts to score an important try.

But for a couple of missed opportunities by Ed Fahy, the Tigers could have put more distance between themselves and a tiring home side.

Ely Standard Man of the Match was Lee Coulson.