Holt beat promotion rivals Ely 30-28 in thrilling match
- Credit: Archant
In a critical game in the race for promotion Holt edged past Ely 30-28 - but, in an enthralling match, the result was in doubt right up to the final whistle.
Conditions were perfect for running rugby and both sides demonstrated a willingness to move the ball and seek space on the wings.
It was Ely who struck first, quick distribution between the three-quarters in their own 22 metres creating space for captain Joel Scott-Paul, who converted his own try after a 50 metre run. James Wyatt, Holt's full back, then kicked two penalties to it 6-7 after half an hour.
By this stage it was apparent that the Holt scrum had established a considerable advantage over their opponents. This allowed Bruce van Poortvliet space to make one of his trademark blindside breaks, scoring a try that Wyatt converted. Shortly afterwards Holt's outside half Tom Jackson gathered his own well-judged kick ahead and the ball passed through several pairs of hands before Jackson himself scored an unconverted try.
The half-time score of 18-7 flattered the home side but they stretched their lead after the break when quick-thinking centre Ali Hughes took a quick tap penalty and forced his way over, giving Wyatt an easy conversion.
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Jackson then left the field through injury, a player received a yellow card and the rhythm of the match changed dramatically. Ely started to show more self-belief and scored two tries in rapid succession, second row Mitchell Kennett forced his way over from short range before a concerted move creating a try for prop Erwin Nooteboom. Scott-Paul converted both and the score moved to 25-21.
To their credit Holt came back almost immediately. Following a 50 metre run by Jimmy Goodliffe, space was created out wide for James Wyatt to go over in the corner for an unconverted try. However, although they were tiring, Ely hit back, wing Luke Turner scoring an excellent try following crisp inter-passing and the reliable Scott-Paul again converting. Neither side deserved to lose but Holt ended up as winners by two points.
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Captain Ashley Woods was Holt's Norfolk Brewhouse man of the match.
Wymondham's away win at Fakenham means they remain top of the table with Holt three points behind in second place with a game in hand.
Holt are away at Crusaders on Saturday and then host neighbours Fakenham at Bridge Road. There is everything to play for in a tightly contested league that is capable of producing some surprising results.