On a cold, bright, blustery day middle of the table Fakenham took on high flying Ely in a game that thoroughly entertained the large crowd for the afternoon.
Fakenham dominated the first 15 minutes with new flanker Josh Gee popping up everywhere. Some poor kicking out of defence and sharp counter attacks by Brett Stolworthy and Lyam Thorpe saw Ely pinned into their own half and after 14 phases and eight offloads resulted in a penalty which the home side unfortunately failed to convert.
Fakenham then gave away two penalties which let Ely have their first real foothold into the Fakenham half.
A lineout on the 22m line resulted in a training ground move that saw the Ely centre go untouched, under the posts, for a converted try.
Some aggressive counter rucking from Ely thwarted another two attacks by Fakenham and a breakaway from Lloyd Marshall, who looked certain to score, was pulled back by the referee for an earlier knock on.
Mid way through the first half Fakenham eventually troubled the scoreboard with
a try by captain Tom Bane Young who latched onto an accurate grubber kick by Lyam Thorpe.
Ely then changed tactics, instead of kicking out of defence as they had been, which saw Fakenham running the ball back with interest, they began to keep it in hand. The continuity of the passes and support running was impressive resulting in Ely’s second try just before half time. This was well converted from the touchline.
Defences were on top for the first period of the second half, with both sides tackling attacks to a standstill, with Fakenham’s Joe Bane Young, Ashley Stewart and Howard Kellock at the fore for the home sides defence. Eventually some slick handling by Ely resulted in another converted try.
Fakenham, for all their endeavour, could not break down the excellent defence of Ely. Luke Taylor continued to give fast service from his first game at scrum half and three time it looked like Fakenham would score out wide, only for the very hard-working Ely cover defence driving players into touch at the last second. Ely soaked up the pressure and broke away to put the game beyond Fakenham’s reach with their last converted try to make the score 5-28. Full credit must go to Fakenham who scored the last try of the , converted by Lloyd Marshal. To score this try Fakenham had to spread the ball to one wing and then recycle the ball quickly and spread it to the other wing before the cover defence could stop them. Some very slick handling, by Brett Stolworthy and Murray Tindal, saw Tom Bane Young go over in the corner for his second try of the afternoon.
To quote the referee "Spike" - " this was a very enjoyable game played with two evenly matched sides" Man of the Match was Luke Taylor for a fine first go at scrum half.
The result drops Fakenham to 9th in the table but with only 5 points (1 match result) separating positions 4 to 9, there is still all to play for.
Next week is a second team cup game at home to Holt 3rd, ko 2:00pm.