Title in sight for Ely Tigers after superb Swaffham success

Action from Ely Tigers' visit to Swaffham. Photos: Steve Wells

Action from Ely Tigers' visit to Swaffham. Photos: Steve Wells - Credit: Archant

A superb hat-trick from Joel Scott Paul helped Ely Tigers tighten their grip on the Eastern Counties Division One title – and promotion – with a convincing 43-15 victory over Swaffham.

The Tigers retained their two point lead at the league summit thanks to an inspired performance from Scott Paul who ran in a treble of tries, with further scores from Ricky Neale, John Dibb, Matt McCarthy and Sam Benzie taking the Tigers to their second successive league win, with only three league games remaining.

The Tigers took a few minutes to settle into the game on a chilly and mud-soaked afternoon in Norfolk, and the hosts took full advantage by notching the first try.

Conceding an early try seemed to shock the Tigers into life, and the league leaders were soon on the scoreboard when Mitchell Kennett found Ricky Neale, who dotted down.

Ely’s opening try settled them down, and they were soon asserting their dominance, with Scott Paul notching his first unconverted try.

The Tigers were reduced to 14 men late in the first half, but extended their lead when Scott Paul dived over for his second try of the afternoon after an impressive move from the backs.

With a bonus point victory in sight, Ely pushed hard in the early stages of the second half and were rewarded for their pressure when Matt McCarthy touched down after fending off the Swaffham defence.

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The Tigers stepped up a gear once again, and John Dibb went down in the corner for another try after some impressive work from Oliver Jones.

In the final fifteen minutes the Tigers’ bonus point was secured when they bagged two more, with the first coming from Sam Benzie, who showed good footwork to step through the opposition defence and touch down under the posts. McCarthy added the arrears.

Benzie then turned creator for the final try of the afternoon with a perfectly weighted grubber kick that stopped dead in the mud for Scott Paul to pick up and place down for his hat-trick.

McCarthy added another conversion to seal a 43-15 triumph and to keep their lead at the top of the pile.

The Tigers will know their fate is in their own hands as they enter the final months of the Greene King Eastern Counties Division One campaign, and another win next weekend against Mersea Island will help them edge ever closer to promotion.