Fakenham travelled to Ely on Saturday fully expecting a tough encounter as the Tigers were in a top three position and had also beaten Fakenham in the home fixture in November.
From the start Fakenham enjoyed a period of pressure deep in the hosts half early in the game but handling errors meant the pressure was not turned in to points. The portents were soon obvious when Ely, in possession at their22, drove forward and outflanked Fakenham to score a converted try wide out on the left 7-0.
From the restart the game moved back and forth before the visitors launched an attack with some swift handling and they engineered a break for winger Brett Stolworthy who took his opportunity to score the try, converted by Lloyd Marshall 7-7.
Ely attacked down their left wing again and scored an unconverted try to regain the lead,12-7. Soon after in a last-ditch attempt for foil another Ely attack Murray Tindall received a yellow card for a high tackle and Ely made the extra man count , scoring another converted try, 19-7.
Fakenham fought hard to keep a buoyant Ely from increasing the score, but a further try was run in down the left wing and with the attempted conversion hitting the post it increased the lead to 24-7.
Not to be outdone Fakenham rallied and forced the pace, creating an opening for
Jordan Walker to break through and score a converted try to take the score to 24-14 at the half time whistle.
Fakenham started the second half in up-beat mood after their late first half try and spent a long period in the home sides 22 metre area but they were frustrated by some good defence from Ely and also conceding penalties in the red zone. Fakenham received a second yellow card for the game for another tackle adjudged to be high. Although a man down Fakenham still attacked Ely and were rewarded for their efforts when Murray Tindall scored the visitors third try again converted by Lloyd Marshall 24-21. Fakenham were now in the realms of a possible losing bonus point but there was still some ten minutes of the game remaining and Ely where on the hunt for more points.
Under extreme pressure from the hosts, Fakenham defended well but were out manoeuvred and finally conceded a converted try taking the score to 31- 21. Fakenham were forced to chase the game again and forced themselves forward again into the Ely half and were awarded a penalty about 40m out from goal, the wind conditions may have played a part in the decision not to kick for goal and they played for a try and looked very sharp as they put intense pressure on the Ely line but they unfortunately ran out of time trying to get their fourth try which would have given them two points for four tries and a losing bonus point. When the ball was finally lost forward the game ended with Fakenham camped on the 5-metre line and with nothing to show for their efforts.
Man of the Match Ashley Stewart had stepped up to playing front row for only the second time this season and he had held his own against a much bigger and more experienced prop.
Fakenham first team do not have a game 16th March but Fakenham seconds play Wymondham Thirds away at Barnard Fields., kick off 3:00pm