Confusion reigned at the final whistle as Ely Tigers faced Thurston at the Cambridge Commodities Park on Saturday afternoon.
After a week off Tigers were back in action looking to keep pressure on the leaders, and again they were forced to back changes to the starting fifteen, in coming was Lory Martin, while Tom Green missed out following an injury picked up representing the County the previous week.
It was the visitors that started brightly scoring the opening try, winning the ball from a line out, they moved the ball quickly from right to left, until the space was found enabling them to cross the white line for 5 points, the conversion was missed, Ely pushed to draw level, but the final pass was never there to complete, their best chance came from a line out deep in the visitors half, but the ball was over thrown out of the back was picked up by the visitors as they cleaned their lines, with 25 minutes on the clock, the chance came for tigers to trouble the score board, a penalty was award close to the posts, up stepped Joel Scott Paul to knock the ball over for three points, from the restart, Thurston pushed on, and they were awarded a penalty, choosing to kick for the points, this proved to be the right choice as the ball sailed over for three points.
With 30 minutes on the clock, Ely crossed the try line for the first time of the afternoon, Ely moved the ball out to the right, enabling captain Matt Mccarthy to find space to score under the posts, giving Scott Paul an easy chance to give Ely the lead for the first time, another try opened the gap further, a quickly taken tap, saw the ball fed out to Charlie Coupland, who in turn freed Scott Paul who was inside giving support, a quick burst of speed took the winger away from the defender to cross the line, the conversion was added on the stroke of the half time whistle.
The second half started very much like the first, both sides unable to get a grip of the game, and it was the visitors who once again added the first points of the half, with a penalty under the posts, another penalty conceded by Ely, this time Thurston choose to kick to touch for a line out, the decision proved correct as they won the ball, and pushing towards the goal line, when in sight they peeled off the back of the pack to bundle the ball into the corner for a try, leaving a difficult kick for the extra points, it proved to much as the ball drop short of the posts.
Thurston were soon on the attack again, winning yet another line out, which let them move the ball left to right, a low cross field kick very nearly allowed the visitors in, but the bounced allowed the home side to kick into touch to clear the danger, the home side were forced into changes with Chris McGrath and Charlie Coupland being forced off.
Thurston were awarded a scrum deep in their own half, with Tigers looking to pin the vistors deep in their half, the scrum was won by Tigers, stealing the ball, with enough players behind the ball the home bundled the ball over the line to score in the corner, leaving another difficult kick to be converted, up stepped Scott Paul once again the ball just had enough power behind it clear the posts for the extra points.
On the stroke of full time Thurston added another try, crossing the try line in the corner once more, despite a last ditch tackle from Paul Dewey, the extra points were missed, as the referee blew for full time, for an Ely 24-21 win, however the referee had the score at 24-24, to add to the confusion.
Match report and Photographs Steve Wells