Woodbridge Warriors fall just short in rematch with Ely
- Credit: Archant
London 3 East Woodbridge Warriors 21 Ely 26 This last league match of 2017/18 re-acquainted contestants from the first, the tight 5-5 draw in torrential rain and lightning at Ely, writes Simon Ballard.
A packed, sunny Woodbridge crowd saw its home team start positively, flankers Matt Bowman and Aldis Salavejs forcing Ely fly-half Ryan Clark to clear.
Full back Angus Clogg missed a penalty attempt before Ely centre Tom Jackson had a darting run up the wing and Lory Martin centre pitch.
The Warriors moved the ball wide, Clogg, Bowman and James Porter bashing defenders Martin, Nathan Brooks and Jacob Muncey. Adam Plummer offloaded to lock Dan Knights who dummied, broke a tackle and scored.
Ely immediately resumed the attack, forcing Clogg and Hart to clear repeatedly until they secured a line-out, the forwards mauled to draw defenders and the ball was snapped cross-field for Ryan Rampling to step in and score.
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Ely No8 Harry Rogerson and Muncey put in a great run to take play to the home 22 where a quick penalty saw John Dibb score.
A few well worked moves from the Ely backs and Muncey was launched again into the Warrior 22 for Rogerson to get the try. Woodbridge restarted with a penalty on the Ely 5m line, a strong maul and Salavejs tumbled over to just squeeze in a wide try.
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Early gains by Woodbridge were stolen by swift running from Brooks and Martin only to be penalised at the line-out from which Bowman squandered a speedy 40m dash by back-passing blind to no-one.
Ely full-back Matt McCarthy took advantage, sprinted to midfield and consolidated the gain through Scott-Paul who picked up deep and ran 60m to score in the corner.
From a penalty it was Brooks again as the Warriors tackled tenaciously. A scrum on halfway delivered good ball to the big figure of Muncey who straightened up, held off Clogg and thundered half the pitch to score.
Woodbridge resumed pressure but were held at bay until Ely gradually edged play into the home half.
Salavejs put in some useful runs, fed by busy scrum half Taff Lloyd, as did Jeff Buchanan and Porter but Ely were the sharper and they camped in the Warriors’ 22 for repeated penalties, denying Woodbridge space to snatch the win.