After a minute’s silence for the victims of terrorism in Paris the Warriors started aggressively with a push up to the Ely 5 metre line and some chancy grubber kicks from fly half JP Hart. Seventh placed Woodbridge knew that an extra effort was required to make a dent in 3rd placed Ely’s positive start to the season. Ely defended well but held on to the ball to concede a penalty which was missed by Jamie Smith.
Ely weren’t to be caught again and Ed Fahy kicked well from hand to put the hosts under pressure and force a 22 drop-out and then a penalty for Matt McCarthy to hit the post. Ely’s well-drilled forwards continued to harry the Woodbridge pack, mauling from the line-out twice before prop Ricky Neale surged over to open their account. Ed Fahy continued to put full back Jacob Bodkin under the high ball but Bodkin gained good ground on the counter supported by flanker Diddy Crowther and some good runs from Olly Gray, Nick Woodley and Dan Taylor. After an abortive attempt on the blind side Woodbridge used fast hands in increasingly wet conditions to get a long lineout throw wide for wing Christian Hoolihan to level the score and give the noisy home crowd something to shout about. Jacob Bodkin repeated his counter run but the large Ely scrum kept possession from the breakdown and won a penalty which Fahy duly converted to make it 5-8 at the break.
Ely dominated early exchanges in the third quarter, their second row Mitch Kennett and Aiden Cooper working well at the line-out to keep possession to their advantage. The Ely pack also shoved well although the Warriors rucked better – James Gilbert, Olly Grey and Nick Woodley grafting to disrupt, steal and win two penalties both of which were missed. Ely broke away through centre Matt McCarthy who made a blistering run in front the clubhouse before being forced into touch. There followed a long period of defence from Woodbridge as Ely scrummaged, mauled and picked and ran at them repeatedly. The referee was frequently unsighted in the dark, wet conditions and awarded the advantage for Ely to repeatedly elect to scrum. Eventually Woodbridge cleared but Fahy reclaimed the territory with some great kicking which kept the Warriors pinned back while their scrum enabled quick ball for centre Charlie Coupland to run a great line to seal the win.