Fakenham triumph by narrowest of margins in London 3 Eastern Counties League
London 3 Eastern Counties League
Fakenham 23 Ely 22
Fakenham returned to winning ways by the narrowest of margins with their strongest and most resilient defensive effort of the season.
A pre-match lunch, sponsored by Fakenham Auto Electrical, added to the large home crowd for this London 3 Eastern Counties League clash which the hosts won by a solitary point.
Fakenham were quick out of the blocks from the whistle, but it was Ely who were first to score, finding a gap after a lineout on the halfway line and managing to capitalise for an unconverted try.
The hosts were straight back to Ely’s 22, with playmaker Luke Boynes creating an opportunity for their own score when an illegal tackle on Jordii Walker gave Fakenham a penalty in front of their own posts.
Despite the blustery conditions, Lloyd Marshall slotted the kick to take the score to 3-5.
Ely’s attempts to attack from the restart were disrupted with pounding tackles by Fakenham, particularly by Damon Howick, and turnovers from Rob Ward.
Eventually, a Fakenham lineout on Ely’s 22 gave them their next opportunity, with the ball spun quickly out to captain Walker on the far wing who dodged the defenders for a try under the posts and Marshall added the extra two.
A second try followed for a rampant Fakenham, who took a penalty inside their own half quickly and flicked the ball out to Walker on the wing, who raced up towards the line and offloaded to Murray Tindall for the finish.
Another great kick by Marshall took the score to 17-5 before the same player kicked a penalty to extend the lead further.
A try from Ely following a driving maul from a five-metre lineout closed the gap slightly with the teams heading in on 20-10.
Ely camped in Fakenham’s 22m at the start of the second period.
Again, impenetrable defence from Fakenham denied Ely, but the Blues struggled to find many chances of their own against the wind.
They managed to win a line out on Ely’s 10m line when a huge kick from Boynes, which he then chased, forced Ely to shepherd the ball into touch.
They pressed for the line, but when Ely conceded a penalty in front of the posts, Marshall kicked to widen the gap to 23-10.
That proved to be a crucial decision, as with under ten minutes left to play, Ely battered their way with big forwards through the Fakenham defence to score a try.
They missed the conversion, but with six minutes remaining, the score was 23-15.
A tense final few minutes saw a penalty kick for Fakenham carried wide in the wind, and Ely hunting for the final scores that might snatch them the game.
Fakenham’s defence held strong, grinding the clock down and denying phase after phase, although Ely were finally able to score at the death from a scrum on the five-metre line.
Next up for Fakenham is a trip to West Norfolk on February 15.
More by this authorGreg Plummer