GREENE KING IPA
EASTERN COUNTIES LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
Basement-boys Newmarket Rugby Club failed to turn the table on its head as they slipped to 22-8 defeat to league-leaders and rivals Ely.
The last time the two sides met, Ely won by more than 100 points. They started the match with a prolonged spell of pressure, but Newmarket put up a stout defensive display.
Five times Ely thought it had grounded the ball, but each time Newmarket held it up.
However, eventually the hosts conceded a penalty and a minute or so later Ely scored a converted try to lead 10-0.
The pressure continued and 25 minutes into the game the visitors scored a second try, but failed to convert.
Although Ely were leading by 15 points, it was clear from their rumblings this contest was not proving to be the walkover expected.
Indeed, it became obvious that Newmarket’s self belief was improving and the home side started to put in some spirited runs. Just before half time, Pat Kearney kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit and leave the score at half time with Ely holding a 15-3 advantage.
Newmarket players started the second half in a rejuvenated manner as they looked to take the game to Ely.
For the first 20 minutes of the second-half, both teams fought for the ball and it was the hosts who found the next breakthrough.
Max Bell, running at full tilt with arms and legs flailing, kept hold of the ball and grounded in it the corner. The conversion failed to be added, but Newmarket had reduced the deficit to just seven points.
With momentum behind them, Newmarket continued to pour forward but failed to find a further breakthrough as Ely’s defence held firm.
And it was the visitors who wrapped up proceedings, showing their pedigree to score another converted try to seal victory.
Despite the defeat, Newmarket coach Ali Walker had nothing but praise for his players’ endeavours.
“We’ve shown we have the skills to take on any team in the league,” he said. “What we now need is for the squad to commit to training each week. Only then can we expect to come away with wins.”
Newmarket will be aiming to bounce back in a trip to sixth-placed Crusaders on Saturday (2pm), while table-topping Ely host Ipswich YM (2.15pm).