East London beat Ely to raise hopes
PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 February 2017
East London 46 Ely 20
East London are firmly in the race for the London Three North East title after beating Ely at the Memorial Ground on Saturday.
Wanstead’s win over previous leaders Harlow leaves East London seven points off top spot in third place, with a game in hand on the new pacesetters, who are due to visit West Ham on March 11.
East London overcame a stubborn Ely side with a powerful second-half performance, having taken the lead inside 60 seconds as the kick-off went to the left corner and the ball was recovered and sent along the backs for Will Brown to touch down.
Fly-half Alan Ferguson missed the conversion but slotted a penalty on 15 minutes, before Ely fought back with an unconverted try.
Ferguson missed another penalty, but made amends soon after to make it 11-5, before a clever kick by centre Andrew Little over the Ely defence was gathered by Brown and sent to Ferguson, who went under the posts for a converted try.
Pressure by Ely kept the home side pinned in their own half and they were rewarded with two tries in quick succession before half time.
East London scored again on 45 minutes when a quick tap penalty by Brown gained ground in the left corner and the ball popped up for blindside flanker Nick Parrott to score.
Ferguson added the extra two points, but persistent Ely claimed an unconverted try to keep themselves in the hunt at 25-20.
East London then pulled away as Little scored his 13th try of the season, which Ferguson converted before adding a long-range penalty.
Ferguson added another try of his own on 67 minutes, after full-back Ryan Billinghurst returned an Ely defensive kick with a mazy run, and added the conversion, before Brown’s second try of the game was also converted to complete the scoring.
East London travel to fourth-placed Southwold on March 4 and captain Dan Bracken said: “We knew the second half needed to be our most important 40 minutes of the season so far if we were to stay in touch with the leaders.
“We stuck to what we are good at and with Wanstead beating Harlow it is now all to play for, starting at Southwold.”
East London: Gary Pearmain; Chris Hodgson; Sam Corbett; Matt Lucas; Oliver Hillyer-Riley; Nick Parrott; Ed Brown; Dan Bracken; Alex Mylchreest; Alan Ferguson; Will Brown; Jono George; Andrew Little; Alex Bannerman; Ryan Billinghurst. Replacements: Ben Hogan; Rob Yiannakou; Harry Fenton.