Epping v Ely 25.04.15
Epping v Ely 25.04.15
After a long season of hard work and commitment, the Epping Upper Clapton 1st xv were called upon to win one more game to secure promotion into London NE3.
During the league season this team had scored some 136 tries across the 20 games, all they needed to do now was to produce the fast flowing exciting brand of rugby that has become customary to this group of players one more time and gain promotion for the first time in the London leagues for some 23+ years.
The club produced a day to remember both on and off the pitch with a great club day of on and off the field
with various things going off through-out the day before kick – off then to the main event at 3pm, the crowd of 400+ spectators were not to be disappointed.
The game started the best it could have with the EUC players starting with a bang and shaking off any lingering nerves on the day, with some strong defence and probing attacking play, during this first period after various plays the men in red settled first and produced opportunities to get the score board ticking over with some good inter-play between forwards and backs,
one of these opportunities resulted in Connor Reynolds going over in the corner, the difficult conversion was unusually missed by Knightly.
This score was soon followed by another from Tim Mathews who bulldozed his way over from short range through 2 or 3 would be Ely defenders, this time the conversion from Knightly was successful and nerves were settling fast to be replaced by confidence.
This was best illustrated when an easy penalty and 3 points was turned down by Captain Cameron Furlong to take a
scrum opportunity in- front of the Ely posts, with the EUC forwards dominating in the set-piece this decision was soon rewarded with a great training ground move resulted with the ever impressive no8 Mitch Sinfield going over for try
number 3 after some good interplay, this again was converted by Knightly for a score line of 19-0 to the home side.
This seemed to spark the Ely team into action with some good play of their own resulting in an
opportunity to get some points of the on the board, which they duly converted making it 19 – 3. This wakeup call kick started EUC back into the zone and some more dominate play, they worked their way down the pitch with some fantastic
open field kicking from EUC no15 Mitch Din, to open another opportunity for some points with a line-out just inside the Ely 22. Fittingly it was a try from Mitch Din that followed after another great set-piece play being executed to
perfection which saw him ghost through the defence un-touched to place the ball under the posts, Knightly again converted.
This was not the end of this first half of great attacking rugby as EUC no8 Mitch Sinfield scored his second of the day, again through some wonderful inter-play of both backs and forwards, again Knightly was on target making the score line 33-0.
Ely to their credit kept on playing and were rewarded when they went over from short range after a few mistakes and penalties given against EUC resulting in a half time score line of 33 – 8
The second half could not, and would not, live up to the intensity of the first and was a rather littered 40 mins of penalties and although Knightly kicked the first points with a penalty the remainder of the game was played in the middle of the pitch with few scoring opportunities, however this stop start half was graced with two converted tries by Ely, the last one with the last play of the game making the final score 36 – 22 to Epping Upper Clapton and the celebrations could begin.
A massive thank you must go to Ely for the part they played in this game and congratulations on their successful season and we are sure we will cross swords again when they gain promotion next year.
With the 2nd xv winning their Essex cup final v May & Baker on the same day, the party went on well into the early hours and deservedly so. with a few weeks off now and time to re-charge the body and batteries the club will look forward with relish life in London NE 3 next season with a new a Club-house opening in August, new enthusiasm across all members, and a new focus from all, the club is looking in good shape.