Peter Kelly's try gives Tigers 25-20 win over Sharjah Wanderers in game that went to extra time
Dubai Tigers win UAE Conference title thanks to sudden-death try
A sudden-death try by Peter Kelly gave Dubai Tigers the UAE Conference title after a thrilling final against Sharjah Wanderers at Dubai Sports City on Friday.
The New Zealander had been battling flu all week in the lead up to the game, and was sporting a bandage around his head to cover a cut on his forehead sustained in a bruising first half.
Despite the energy-sapping heat, Kelly and his team finally quelled a courageous Sharjah effort went he dived over the tryline in the first-phase of extra-time.
It meant Tigers could celebrate a first significant title in just their fourth season as a competitive entity.
They had been giving away 36 years' worth of experience to Wanderers. The Sharjah side had been hoping to complete their 40th year anniversary celebrations with a second Conference title in the space of three years, and they started the brightest, scoring the opening try through Mike Gormley.
Tigers asserted themselves when Mark O’Donnell, who ended the afternoon in hospital with a suspected broken jaw, touched down to level the scores.
The Dubai side then went ahead went Shane Gibbons went over. Although Sharjah were rewarded for a long spell of dominance with a penalty try, Tigers edged into a 20-17 lead via the boot of Sam Cross, even though his side were down to 13 men at the time because of two yellow cards.
With time ticking down, Ryan Flaherty silenced some vocal support from the stand by kicking Wanderers level, and forcing extra time.
Although Wanderers had a shot at goal in extra time, Tigers took the trophy thanks to Kelly’s try.