Tigers tethered

PUBLISHED: 10:31 11 October 2007 | UPDATED: 12:57 04 May 2010

Ely 1st XV 7 Woodbridge 25 Ely were weakened again this week with Sam Sanders-Hewett unavailable and both other fly-half replacements injured, so Kieran Kennett stepped into the breach once more with Karim Faisali moving to centre. Twice in the first minu

Ely 1st XV 7

Woodbridge 25

Ely were weakened again this week with Sam Sanders-Hewett unavailable and both other fly-half replacements injured, so Kieran Kennett stepped into the breach once more with Karim Faisali moving to centre.

Twice in the first minutes, poor defence by Ely's reshaped midfield might have resulted in opposition tries, but scrambled defence limited the damage to a kicked penalty for a 3-0 lead to Woodbridge.

The Tigers improved as the game progressed and although it was marred by unforced errors by both sides, Ely's pack started to dominate in all areas of the game. Eventually the Tigers won a 5-metre scrum and drove it forward where Stacey Mould flopped on the ball to score.

Kennett converted for a 7-3 scoreline, but Woodbridge responded with a try to lead by a point.

The game was very even and although the Ely forwards were making inroads with quick drives, the tactic resulted in too many penalties for "on the floor" offences. Just before half-time, Woodbridge kicked one of these to lead 11-7 at half-time.

Nevertheless this had been a most encouraging start for Ely, but the forced tactic of playing two inside centres had not really worked so Lee Coulson went to outside centre and Lee Moden came on the open-side flank.

It was a case of contrasting fortunes in the second-half, with neither side making too many chances. The ones that did fall came to Ely, but they always managed to fluff their lines. Mitch Kennett then came into the second row for Chris Day who had not completely shaken of flu.

Stacey Mould picked up a thigh strain but stayed on when Ely lost a lineout 22-metres out, giving the opposition a scrum close to the line, Woodbridge winning the ball and scoring with a back row drive which exploited that injury. The try was converted for a 7-18 scoreline and Mould then departed, leading to a revamped scrum.

Alan Mason came on to hooker, Ricky Neal moved to the blind-side and Mark Goude to number-eight. For ten minutes this disrupted the back row and Ely's confusion was punished when a retreating Woodbridge maul moved the ball blind to find a surplus of players, which they used to score and extend their lead to 7-25.

There were 20 minutes to go when the Tigers pulled themselves up and proceeded to take the game to Woodbridge.

The Ely scrum was magnificent and the forwards constantly drove forward, with the concession of penalties reduced to a trickle. However although there were many promising attacks resulting in some very scrambled opposition clearances from scrums and a lot of pressure from Ely, a second try eluded them.

Newmarket 15 Ely 2nd XV 44

Another local derby for the Tigers, this time the short trip to Newmarket. The Tigers kicked off playing down the slope and put Newmarket under pressure from the start and were rewarded with two penalties in the opening minutes which Pete Vousden kicked to set the Tigers underway for a score of 0-6.

The Tigers scrummage was dominant, giving their backline a steady stream of possession. A midfield break by Mark Egerton was responsible for another penalty to Ely which Vousden kicked successfully before Newmarket got one back. Then a huge error from the Tigers allowed Newmarket to pounce on a dropped ball and score under the posts and suddenly the hosts led 10-9.

The Tigers came roaring back, a miss move in midfield seeing Vousden pass his opposite number at outside centre before bulldozing the full back to one side to score under the post. He kicked the conversion to put the Tigers back in front 10-16.

After changes at half-time the Tigers were more ruthless at the breakdown. Soon Craig Rands scored in the corner and Koen Chamberlain kicked the conversion to extend Ely's advantage.

The Tigers forwards were now right on top, providing Vousden with a well taken try which was converted by Chamberlain to extend Ely's lead to 10-30.

The dominant Tigers next chose to take the scrum option from a penalty award, allowing James Dening to power over under the posts for a try that Vic Cato converted.

Next it was Faisali scoring after several phases of Tiger's possession, with Craig Rands kicking the conversion for a 10-44 advantage.

Newmarket had the final say by going over in the corner late on after a quickly taken penalty, but it was too late to affect the outcome.

Skipper Vic Cato said afterwards, "That's eighty plus points in two games, but I still think there is more to come from this team.

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