Tigers lose ground as Newmarket rally to earn draw


- Credit: Archant

Rugby Newmarket 19 Ely Tigers 19

Rivals Newmarket again proved a thorn in Ely’s side as they were held to a draw, on Saturday.

Newmarket pipped Ely to second place in Eastern Counties Division One last season and looked to have damaged their title ambitions again this time around by rallying late on after an excellent start by Ely.

The result saw Ely lose ground on table-topping Southwold, who moved six points clear with an emphatic win at Crusaders.

Ely needed barely half-a-minute to take the lead on Saturday as Mark Ryder plucked the kick off from the air and ran in under the posts for a converted try.

Soon after, Ryder was in again under the posts when the ball was passed wide to him and the Newmarket defence were unable to cope.

But the hosts soon woke up and Ely were unable to keep the penalty count down. Countless quick-tap penalties gave Newmarket easy territory. The ball was forced wide and Newmarket touched down in the corner for an unconverted try.

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Ely began to lose their heads with the penalty count rising. A failed clearance was caught by the opposition winger who ran through an unaware Ely defence and went over for a second try.

Ely regrouped in the second half and moved into the lead after the ball went down the blindside and John Dibb dived over in the corner for a converted try.

But old habits crept back in and Ely were penalised time and again as the match wore on, with Newmarket able to convert nine points from three kicked penalties, cutting Ely’s lead and earning themselves a share of the spoils.