Ely had a troubled first half, Thetford used the width and their pace to run the Tigers ragged. They quickly got on the scoreboard with two converted tries. Ely fought back and gained a penalty on the twenty-two after a Thetford player was sin-binned for a dangerous clear out in the ruck. Ely opted for the corner and Nathan Brooks took the line-out then received the ball back with a clever forward’s move and darted in untouched for a converted try, Joel Scott Paul added the arrears. Thetford reclaimed their restart and the opposite thirteen darted in before offloading to a supporting player for an unconverted try. The ball was back and fourth and Ely sought to score again. Thetford were penalised for an offside infringement, Scott Paul then slotted the penalty. Thetford added another try and looked like they might run away with the game, however Jacob Muncey successfully broke the defensive line to touch down for a converted try.
The game continued to be a spectacle of running rugby, Ely’s defence somehow held strong. Matt McCarthy crossed the line for a converted try and soon after Mitchell Kennett carried the opposing scrum-half over the line with him and touched down, which took the Tigers ahead for the first time in the game. This motivated Thetford and Ely’s defence slipped which allowed them to run in a try. The conversion attempt was successful and put them ahead again on the scoreboard, 31-29. Ely gained a penalty in the dying minutes of the game, an opportunity to take the lead but Scott Paul’s attempt sailed wide. In the last play of the game Brooks found himself on the wing with one man to beat, he was brought down. Man of the match Stacy Mould was on hand to secure the ball. Ash Clark’s pass found his brother Ryan who stepped through the retreating defence, took out the last defender and Muncey happily received the offload for the winning try. Final score 36-31.
Photo credit: Steve Wells