Tigers made to work for win by stubborn Mersea side

Ely Tigers Rugby V Mersea Island

Ely Tigers Rugby V Mersea Island - Credit: Archant

Rugby Ely Tigers 15 Mersea Island 7

Ely Tigers Rugby V Mersea Island

Ely Tigers Rugby V Mersea Island - Credit: Archant

RESILIENT defence from Mersea Island meant Ely had to work doubly hard to get back to winning ways on Saturday.

The Essex side were in no mood to roll over for their hosts and, despite spending the majority of the match in opposition territory, John Dibb’s men had to wait until the final 15 minutes before they finally breached the Islanders’ defence.

The victory keeps the Tigers hot on the tails of Eastern Counties front-runners Wymondham and Ipswich YM, with a trip to Crusaders to prepare for on Saturday.

Ely’s match against Mersea, who sit seventh in the league, began with both sides defending tenaciously. Neither team was able to make noticeable gains going forward though, as difficult conditions held up the play.

Ten minutes in, however, Mersea started to force Ely back into their own twenty two and a moment of confusion in the Ely midfield allowed the visitors to crash through and place down under the posts for a converted try.

With the first score of the match chalked up though, the quality quickly drained out of the match and neither side were able to convert any points.

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The drought was finally broken in the final 15 minutes when Ely managed to put together some consistent phases. The hosts powered through the Mersea defence, Luke Cornwell picked the ball up from a ruck and forced his way over the line for an unconverted try.

Mersea remained ahead at 7-5 but Ely were straight back at them after the restart, and a good show of hands from the backs put Charlie Coupland in for an unconverted try in the corner.

In the last play of the match, Ely found themselves again in opposition territory and they were awarded a penalty for offside.

A well worked line-out move produced a rolling maul from which Luke Cornwell was able to score in the corner, putting daylight between the sides and wrapping up the win. Man of the match went to scrum-half Dan Coulson.