RUGBY: Ely Tigers battle the elements to return to winning ways in Eastern Counties League

PUBLISHED: 10:38 02 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:38 02 March 2020

Ryan Clark slips a tackle for Ely Tigers. Picture: STEVE WELLS

Ryan Clark slips a tackle for Ely Tigers. Picture: STEVE WELLS

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Ely Tigers battled the elements to get back to winning ways in the London 3 Eastern Counties League.

Ely Tigers' Matt McCarthy gets blocked. Picture: STEVE WELLSEly Tigers' Matt McCarthy gets blocked. Picture: STEVE WELLS

The hosts welcomed Woodbridge to Cambridge Commodities Park, and on a sticky pitch following the recent downpours, the home side were once again forced to make changes to the starting line-up from the defeat to Thurston in their previous league outing.

Woodbridge started brightly with quick hands seeing them progress into the Ely half, but their early pressure did not come to fruition.

This prompted Ely to respond as they looked for gaps in the Woodbridge defence, and despite the visitors standing firm, Tigers managed to convert a penalty to take a first-half lead through Joel Scott Paul in front of the posts.

That lead did not last long as the Suffolk side were soon awarded a penalty of their own, where despite kicking into the wind, managed to draw level.

Grant Storey releases the ball before going to ground for Ely Tigers. Picture: STEVE WELLSGrant Storey releases the ball before going to ground for Ely Tigers. Picture: STEVE WELLS

A succession of scrums produced the opening try of the afternoon for Ely. Matt McCarthy fed the ball to Charlie Coupland, who crossed over unchallenged before Scott Paul added the extra points to increase their advantage.

Another penalty for Tigers strengthened their lead to go into half-time 13-3 in front.

With Ely pinned in their half after the break, they tried pushing up the pitch with swift passing, but again, Woodbridge defended strongly.

As the wind gathered, it was no surprise to see Woodbridge awarded a penalty just inside the Ely half, but Tigers were let off as the kick fell short of the posts.

Grant Storey looks for a way past for Ely. Picture: STEVE WELLSGrant Storey looks for a way past for Ely. Picture: STEVE WELLS

Despite being on the back-foot, it was Ely who punished the Warriors with a rare visit out of their half. From a line-out, the ball found its way to the right wing where Jake Alsop went over to score, although Scott Paul was unable to convert the extra points.

Woodbridge set up a nervy finish having missed a flurry of tackles to eventually go over the try line, adding the conversion.

The remainder of the game saw Tigers looking for the next try, and as the game moved into the closing stages with the visitors questioning some refereeing decisions, neither side were able to add to the scoreline as Ely ran out 18-10 winners.

Ely next travel to Cambridgeshire rivals Wisbech in a league fixture on Saturday, March 21.

Charlie Coupland escapes the Woodbridge defence. Picture: STEVE WELLSCharlie Coupland escapes the Woodbridge defence. Picture: STEVE WELLS

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