Promotion hopes slipping away as Holt are beaten at home
- Credit: Archant
Holt were edged out in a tightly fought contest against fellow top four side Ely after being outscored by four tries to three.
The hosts took time to settle following their defeat at leaders Southwold last time out and suffered a blow after just two minutes when hooker Tim Allen, one of this season's star players, was carried off with injured ligaments.
After 20 minutes the deadlock was broken with a stunning individual try by debutant Hugh-Cabbell-Manners. Gathering the ball on the retreat he turned and swerved through the heart of the Ely defence before touching down, with James Wyatt, who proved reliable throughout, converting.
It was Ely, however, who then took control. Wing-forward John Dibbs scored after a concerted move amongst the three-quarters, captain Joel Scott-Paul converting, and shortly afterwards adding a penalty. A driving lineout then led to a second try for the visitors, this time from hooker Nathan Brooks, with Scott-Paul again converting to make it 17-7 to the visitors at the break.
The momentum shifted immediately after the interval. Wyatt added a penalty for Holt and then, following excellent passing, Holt centre Aaron Tagg scored under the posts, giving Wyatt an easy conversion to level the scores.
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However the final quarter proved frustrating all round with disruptions caused by injuries and a high penalty count. Towards the end Ely produced some good inter-passing between forwards and backs which gave Brooks a second try. Scott-Paul again converted and to cap an excellent afternoon he added a try in the corner following a breakaway move to give his side an unassailable lead.
A second try for Woodforde's man-of-the-match Cabbell-Manners came too late to affect the result, which was probably a fair reflection of the game.
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A losing bonus point will offer little consolation to Holt as any promotion prospects are slipping away in what is proving to be a season of recovery and consolidation. They will, however, take heart from some excellent individual displays. Two players made their first start for the first team, Cabbell-Manners and Jack Moore, a late replacement at scrum-half.