Will to win sees Tigers triumph
RUGBY Old Cantabrigians 25 Ely 28 ELY Tigers produced a truly outstanding performance to extend their lead at the top of the table by coming from behind to beat second-placed Old Cantabrigians. This remarkable feat was heightened by the fact that the Ely
Old Cantabrigians 25 Ely 28
ELY Tigers produced a truly outstanding performance to extend their lead at the top of the table by coming from behind to beat second-placed Old Cantabrigians.
This remarkable feat was heightened by the fact that the Ely side suffered several injuries to key players, with top scorer Tom Jackson, Neil Murton and Ricky Neal out from the start and skipper Gavin Ross leaving the field in the first half.
James Dening was given a first outing at number-eight.
The home side, backed by a large crowd, came out fired up and quickly took an 8-0 lead, and when Mark Goude was sin-binned and prop Chris Day went off injured, the Tigers found themselves with their backs to the wall.
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Yet Ed Fahy kicked a penalty against the run of play to reduce the lead to 8-3.
Ely skipper Ross then left the field with a leg injury and was replaced by Sam Sanders-Hewett at fly-half.
The home side extended their lead to 13-3 when they kicked a penalty into the corner and drove the ball over the line from the resulting line-out.
The Tigers didn't panic and patiently played their way back into the game.
Sanders-Hewett sparked an attack with an excellent kick and Daniel Coulson, then Mark Dening, broke free, before Goude finished with opposition defenders hanging on. Fahy converted to close the gap to 13-10.
Ely claimed a 15-13 lead before half-time when Sanders-Hewett took a quick penalty from 12 metres out and two big jinks and a display of sheer strength saw him crash over the line.
Two penalties, early in the second half, from the outstanding Fahy extend the Tigers' lead to 21-13.
Disaster struck when Ely's star man Daniel Coulson was injured and the only remaining reserve, forward Stacey Mould, came on.
Ely struggled to readjust and Old Cantabrigians took advantage by breaking through to score a try and bring the score to 21-18.
Yet the Tigers reasserted themselves again by winning an opposition line-out and, after a Sanders-Hewett break, Fahy ran in for a try. Fahy then converted his own try and Ely led 28-18.
Ely went on to produce a spell of big driving runs, but the home side were strong in defence. Old Cantabrigians went on to score and convert a try late on, but Ely held on.
Ely coach Terry Moore said: "The belief, effort, support and sheer will to win was outstanding.