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London One North: Basildon 13 Eton Manor 24

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Eton Manor enjoyed a fine start to 2013 with a London One North win over lowly Basildon on Saturday despite getting off to a poor start in difficult conditions.

Manor fielded a much-changed team on a heavy pitch that proved profitable for the hosts in the opening eight minutes.

Basildon made the most of the visitors’ high penalty count early on and from a line-out the hosts set up an unstoppable driving maul, though the conversion was missed.

They increased their lead to 10-0 after 21 minutes when Basildon continued to drive forward metre by metre before their second row eventually crossed the try line.

Manor knew they had a game on their hands and it acted as the wake-up call they needed.

They enjoyed plenty of pressure and eventually turned that into points when a move involving Reece Reed, Michael Eghan and Ben Thomas was finished off in the corner by Huw Lewis.

Thomas converted to reduce the arrears to 10-7, though they continued to give away needless penalties as the half drew to a close.

Manor started the second half in the ascendancy and finally registered their second try of the match when the ball shot out the side of a scrum and Reed pounced to lay on Eghan.

He crashed through three tackles before going over in the corner to put them 12-10 ahead with 14 minutes of the second half played.

Replacement prop Chris Hurry was injured in the build-up to the try and, as Manor had used their stipulated front row cover, the remaining scrums would have to go uncontested.

Basildon were temporarily reduced to 14 men and had to withstand a lot of pressure from the visitors.

But they eventually relented as Reed and Chris Jones interchanged passes before feeding Max Murray.

Thomas acted as the dummy runner, taking out two defenders and allowing Murray to shrug off a tackler and crash over the line for a converted try to move them 19-10 ahead.

Basildon kicked a penalty to move into losing bonus-point territory with less than 10 minutes to play.

Manor eventually wrapped up the game though with a fourth, bonus-point winning try when Basildon knocked on, allowing Reed to feed Eghan who held off three tackles before touching down and sealing a 24-13 win.

This weekend local rivals and 10th-placed Chingford visit The New Wilderness and Manor know that they will have to up their game to get another victory.

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