(by the Report Monkey)
After a few weeks off I was very happy to be back on the field with my brothers in blue and white. With much improved numbers from last years away visit to Ely when we could only muster up 7 men, it was clear that it was going to be a good day for battle.
With Ely top of the league and undefeated we knew it was going to be hard going but we had a strong side and were all looking forward to the game.
From the kick off it was clear that the luck of the bounce was not to be with us, when Ely's kick bounced back into the hands of their charging forwards. The tone of the game was set as they used their size and speed well to press us back deeper and deeper into our half, until a penalty on our 5 and some quick thinking by their 9 saw them open the score, 0-7.
For the next 20/30 minutes the game was hard fought in the middle of the field with both sides putting in hard runs and harder tackles.
Chris tried all the tricks up his sleeve to find the chink in their armour, but Ely adapted and substituted well to cover any he found before we could take advantage. Note to self always check which side 10 prefers to kick to before picking which wing to be on in order to avoid doing an in game bleep test!
Unfortunately after couple of slipped tackles it was Ely who break through to score their 2nd, 0-14.
The rest of the half was played out with a continuation of the mid-field battle.
Favourite moment from the half would be all the tackles, not going to list everyone but everyone put in at least one hit that was worthy of mention.
A few changes at half time to bring on some fresh legs (including a rest for my self), and the game was back on, and continued in much the same vain.
It was again Ely to put the next score on the board, with good team pressure followed by a strong break to dot down on the wing, 0-19.
We came tantalisingly close to finally getting on the board with a 5 minute spell 10m out from their line (and in hindsight we probably should have kicked on of the pens to prevent the nil), but we just could not get the last meter.
The luck just wasn't with us and even those with normally the safest pairs of hands unable to maintain their grip on a couple of occasions that could have made the difference.
Even though the tide seemed to have turned with Cantabs getting more of the attack than the defence it was Ely who nailed the coffin with the final try of the game, 0-24.
A hard fought battle, but ultimately a fun one. And its with pride that I can say that despite the score all heads were firmly held up high. After struggles with numbers and recruiting players in recent times, credit to Ely whose development are once again a side to be reckoned with.
Personal highlight of the second half, Chris's drop goal attempt, it may have missed but for the look of confusion on several of the Ely teams faces it was priceless.
MoM - as always never an easy choice when a team performs as this one did, but for stealing so much of their lineout ball, and being what can only be referred to as a 'tackle monster'. This week Steve C, take a bow.
DoD is cancelled this week as instead I am going to give an award for sportsmanship, Jack F when running the line could have easily lied and said their man stepped out (it was close but he was in) to disallow one of their tries. But stood up to a couple of his team mates and played fair. Well done Jack.