Ely 5 v Woodbridge Warriors 5
With Ely at home and from a league higher in the new amalgamated league structure this was a game Woodbridge were scheduled to lose. Woodbridge fly half JP Hart kicked to the corner for early pressure. Eley responded with Luke Wileman making 20 metres from deep. Ely’s forwards continued to get good ball to their backs but despite some barrelling runs from full back Matthew McCarthy handling errors and a rapid Woodbridge line stopped them. Woodbridge came close from a line out with Aldis Salavejs releasing from a charge to Matt Bowman, Jamie Smith and Hart connecting well. A missed penalty by Woodbridge kept the pressure in the Ely half despite some kicks straight to touch. Eventually Woodbridge ran back a great run from 13 Charlie Coupland, Hart kicked well into space the winger was rucked over and ball moved quickly across field to Matt Bowman who dodged three tacklers to score. Ely used a rolling maul to good effect late in the first half and pressure remained as Ely forwards repeatedly picked and drove in the corner until hooker Nathan Brookes scored to level it 5 apiece. Woodbridge resisted pressure as the heavens opened.
The second half started with Ely strong on the right wing. The Warriors kicks to clear failed to stick and Ely forwards built on their scrum domination. Resuming after the match was suspended for lightening, Woodbridge’s backs, led by Tom Stokes continued to challenge with grub kicks and some good handling. Cooke and Ed Banthorpe led the challenge, Woodbridge threatening the full width of the Ely line but Ely’s defence was up to it – their second row Mitchel Kennett and Matthew Ings tackling well. Clogg missed a penalty and the halfway tussle continued. Ely No 9 Joel Scott-Paul pressed his forwards and the rolling mauls had great effect supported by a strong carries from McCarthy. With Hart injured the Warriors missed the corner kicks but still took territory, exploiting errors in slippery conditions – Milne having little luck with wide moves. The score line reflects the evenly balanced contest which Woodbridge will enjoy the most.