Tigers suffer first defeat of the season

Ely Tigers made the short trip across to Thetford looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season, but like previous weeks they were forced into changes due to injury, including captain Matt MaCarthy, who picked up an ankle injury the previous week.

As the game started so did the rain, making the ball slippery, from the start the home side went on the attack winning a scrum in the danger area for Ely, when the chance came they nudged a low kick into the danger area, but the Ely defence picked up the ball before a Thetford player could score, Ely cleared the ball up field, but it came back into the danger area soon after, this time at a cost to Ely, as the home side moved the ball from left to right, finding a small enough gap in the Tigers defence to cross over the try line in the corner for the opening try, the conversion was missed from the angle, from the restart Ely looked to push forward, winning a penalty close to the post, Joel Scott Paul was able to slot the ball over bar to cut the deficit, early indications showed that both sides were looking to attack, in the next move for the home side, saw another penalty awarded, and the home opened the gap once more with a further three points to lead 8-3, back came Ely, with Luke Turner, playing his first game of the season, found some space on the wing to cross over the line in the corner, the conversion was missed to tie up the scores, Ely then took the lead for the first time with another Scott Paul penalty.

As the game ebbed and flowed from end to end, the home side had the chance to draw level with another penalty, but the ball hit the upright and bounced to safety, the home side pushing the Tigers defence stood firm, and they increased their lead, with yet another penalty for Scott Paul, with half time approaching back came the home side, with a try under the posts to lead at the interval.

The second half started just as the first, with sides looking to attack, but the conditions were making it difficult for either side to grab the game by the scruff of the neck, it seemed that all the loose balls were being picked up by Thetford, with the Tigers being dealt a blow when Jacob Muncey limped off, Ely looked to have found some space as they moved to ball from left out to the right wing, but the referee brought play to a halt due to an injury, from the resulting restart Ely cleared the ball for a line out, and were edging forward, but a mistake gave the ball back to Thetford, looking to put the ball tight in the corner for a line out the ball was knocked out to far, giving Thetford a turn over, and a chance to clear their lines, and move further down field, which is where they were awarded a further penalty, opting to kick, a decision that took some surprise considering the conditions, the kick only just over the half way line, and looked to have been the right option, until the last meters, as the ball crashed off the cross bar, another dropped ball from Ely gave the home side another chance, and only a last ditch tackle prevented another score, as the game due to a close, Ely pushed forward and on the stroke of full time there got there reward with Nathen Brooks diving over the try line, the conversion was missed as the Tigers went down to a 22-19 score line.

Despite the loss Ely picked up a bonus point to stay in third place, with West Norfolk sitting at the top of the league

Match report and Photographs Steve Wells

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