Title hopes in the balance as Ely are eased out by Thetford

Ely Tigers

Ely Tigers - Credit: Archant

Rugby Thetford 28 Ely Tigers 26

Ely’s title hopes suffered a telling blow as they lost out to rivals Thetford, on Saturday.

Lloyd Palmer’s side slipped 15 points behind league leaders Southwold in defeat, while Thetford moved to within six points of the Tigers, who remain in second place.

And it could be make or break for Ely this weekend as they travel to Southwold in a match that could go a long way to settling this season’s battle for top spot.

Ely were decidedly off colour in the early stages of Saturday’s match, with an unusually lacklustre defence allowing Thetford in for two early scores.

Ely fought hard to get back into the game and Dan Coulson was able to score an unconverted try after hard work from the forwards.

Ely continued to apply pressure on the opposition defence but were far from their best after a failed pass was scooped up by their winger who was able to sprint in for an unconverted try.

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Ely managed to score another before the end of the half through Mitchell Kennett.

After the half-time break, Ely were eager to take the game back. In the first fifteen minutes Harry Rogerson scooped up a loose ball and touched down for a converted try.

Nathan Brookes then scored after the forwards set a maul and drove over the line to take Ely ahead. Thetford clawed back with an unconverted try.

Crucially, in the final 15 minutes, Thetford converted two penalties to lead 28-26 and Ely could not respond.