GREENE KING IPA EASTERN COUNTIES LEAGUE
Newmarket 19 Ely 19
An injury ravaged Newmarket staged a spirited fightback to ensure honours ended even in an entertaining derby clash with Ely on Saturday.
Newmarket’s growing injury list was further compounded on the morning of the game with Ali Walker, Corentin Rosaire and Ben Cockerton all failing fitness tests, however they were boosted by the return of Matt Kent from a broken ankle.
Things started terribly for the home side as the Ely number eight scored with nine seconds on the clock and before Newmarket had even touched the ball, straight from the kick off the eight collected the ball and danced under the posts.
Matters got worse less than five minutes later as the impressive eight added a second try for the visitors, 14-0 behind with a mountain to climb.
After the initial setback Newmarket started to come into the game and were able to put pressure on the Ely defence resulting in a string oF penalties before Sam Rodman capped a good performance with a sharp finish in the corner.
He was unable to add the extras to his own score but the deficit was reduced to 5-14.
Further Newmarket pressure resulted in a yellow card to Ely and Newmarket capitalised when Max Bell spotted a mismatch and scorched past the prop guarding the touchline.
Although Rodman narrowly missed the conversion the hosts were right back into the game at half time 10-14.
After the break Newmarket continued their dominance and only allowed Ely brief visits to their half.
With Ely resorting to slowing down and killing the ball Newmarket were able to take advantage with three penalties from Mike Reeves to lead 19-14 with 10 minutes to play.
Despite being down to 14 players with a second yellow card Ely were able to force a penalty chance which was missed by the replacement fly half before they finally capitalised on an exhausting passage of play.
With bodies strewn across the pitch they managed to get over the line out wide, the conversion was missed and the game tied up at 19-19.
Neither side were able to fashion a chance in the final few minutes as the game ended in an entertaining draw for the second time in as many seasons.
Newmarket will return to action in the league on Saturday, January 10 when they will host Wymondham.
Prior to the clash with the Norfolk outfit, Newmarket will take on Wisbech at their home ground of Scaltback in round three of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) Junior Vase on Saturday, January 3.