Tigers put opponents to the test
AN admirable effort from Ely Tigers saw them push a strong St Albans side to the limit in their final pre-season encounter before the start of the new season.
Ely Tigers 11
St Albans 15
AN admirable effort from Ely Tigers saw them put push a strong St Albans side to the limit in their final pre-season encounter before the start of the new season.
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Though St Albans sit two leagues above Ely in the London Division 2, they were pushed all the way to the wire by Karl Haywood’s side who were unlucky not to come away with a win after a late try was ruled out by match officials.
The match served as an ideal warm-up for Ely ahead of their all-important season opener against Cantabs on Saturday.
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After a focused warm up, Ely took to the field sporting their new shirts for the season and the game began. The opening exchanges saw Ely hold their line with an impressive defensive display, with the forwards in particular causing St Albans a lot of headaches.
Ely were then able to clear and begin to work their way up field. After a period of back and forth Ely won a penalty on the St Albans 22 which Ed Fahy coolly slotted over to give Ely the lead. Ely began to build momentum after their breakthrough and after a period of progressive rugby, Kieran Kennet put Ed Fahy through a gap in the St Albans defence, but a scoring chance went begging as the final ball from new centre John Dibb didn’t find its man.
The rest of the first half was a hard fought contest and ended 3-3 after a St Albans penalty.
The second half was a different proposition as the game began to open up, Ed Fahy kicked another penalty to give Ely a 6– 3 lead and then the attrition rate began to climb. Ely lost new hooker Jamie Orpwood to an ankle injury and then Lee Coulson after a clash of heads during a scramble defence. The subsequent breaks saw Ely lose a focus and St Albans ran in the first of two tries in a period of attack that saw them finally begin to show their pedigree leaving the score at 1– 6.
Ely then launched some attacks of their own and after some fantastic off-loading, Kev Houghton was able to score in the corner. The breakthrough renewed Ely renewed and St Albans spent the rest of the half in defence. Late in the match, Ely Ely chased hard at a chipped ball from Ben Forteath but despite appearing to touch down over the St Albans try line, the referee was unable to see the score and the points went begging.