Ely Tigers faced league leaders West Norfolk at the Cambridge Commodities Park on Saturday afternoon.
The game started with both sides unable to get a firm grip on the match, with the majority of the game played around the half way line and 22 meter lines, with the first scoring chance coming on 20 minutes, a penalty against the home side saw West Norfolk opt to kick for points, from just inside the half way line, but the kick was wayward and just dropped to the left of the posts as the game stayed scoreless.
Somewhat against the run of play, Tigers opened the scoring, a kick forward by Matt McCarthy was gathered up the West Norfolk backs, who chose to kick forward, but charging the kick down was Jake Alsop, who gathered up the rebound unchallenged to race forward to score the opening try, Alsop added the extra points.
From the restart, West Norfolk came back into the game, only some solid defence from the home side prevented the scores being level, but moments later the scores were level, a defensive kick forward was collected inside Ely’s half by West Norfolk who crossed the try line to level the scores with a try and a successful conversion.
With half time around the corner the leaders took the lead, with a move down the wing, with the winger manging to stay in touch while the home side appealed that the player was out of play before releasing the ball, the pass inside enabled West Norfolk to cross in the corner for a try, again the conversion was added.
The game still in the balance at the break, the next score was going to be important, the restart started with West Norfolk attacking and adding more pressure, an award of a scrum in front of the posts, West Norfolk broke from the rear of the scrum to cross over the try line, with the conversion added for a commanding lead, and the lead was extended further moments after the restart, and again missed tackles proved costly allowing West Norfolk to break and score in the corner, despite a last ditch tackle from Joel Scott Paul, the conversion was missed.
The game settled into a simpler pattern to the first half with the majority of the game played between the two 22 meter areas, another penalty awarded to the visitors right in front of the post gave West Norfolk a further 3 points to extend the score to 29 – 7, and with time running out there seemed no way back for the home side, however there was still time for one more try, and it came for the home side, a break from Luke Cornwell, Jim Storey and Ryan Clark, with Clark feeding the ball out to wing to Scott Paul, who eventually put the ball down in the corner for the try, leaving a difficult kick for Alsop for the added points, but the kick proved little trouble as Alsop added the extra points as the final whistle went to finish the game.
The result leaves Ely in third place, 13 points behind leaders West Norfolk, and 12 points behind Cantabs, who Ely face in their final game of the year next Saturday.
Full Time: Ely Tigers 14 – 29 West Norfolk
Match report and photographs Steve Wells