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Eton Manor made to work hard

Michael Eghan scored two tries for Eton Manor against Romford & Gidea Park (pic: Martin Pearl) Michael Eghan scored two tries for Eton Manor against Romford & Gidea Park (pic: Martin Pearl)

Monday, March 17, 2014
11:56 AM

London Div 1N: Eton Manor 24 Romford & GP 15

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Eton's Manor Stephen Ross evades a Romford tackle (pic: Martin Pearl)Eton's Manor Stephen Ross evades a Romford tackle (pic: Martin Pearl)

Table-topping Eton Manor were made to work hard by resilient Romford to keep their title bid on track.

Manor had won 48-0 when the two sides met at Crow Lane earlier in the season, but came up against determined visitors at the New Wilderness in the return.

They took the lead on 10 minutes when Nick Horton spotted a gap on the blindside and made 20 metres before finding Reece Reed, who cut inside to beat the covering Park defence for the first try of the game.

Romford’s forwards made good inroads to set up a scrum in home territory and a handling error by Manor allowed the visitors to send the ball through the backs for their winger to go behind the posts for a try, which was converted.

Chris Jones linked well with Reece Reed before being bundled into touch and Ian Edwards secured lineout ball for Manor to drive towards the line, before their maul was stopped illegally and Romford were reduced to 14 men by a yellow card.

Garth Tucker went close from the base of the resulting scrum before Park cleared downfield.

But Alfie Hutcherson stole lineout ball for Horton to find Stephen Ross, who made good ground before the forwards took things up to win a penalty.

Manor kicked for a lineout and patient work in the maul created an overlap, but the final pass was deemed forward as the half ended with Romford 7-5 up.

The hosts brought on Michael Eghan for the second half, as Reece Reed moved to scrum-half, and upped the tempo from the start.

Centres Alex Hunter and Will Mobray combined well to feed Eghan, who had too much pace and power to break three tackles on a 30-metre run to the line.

Callum McKie converted to put Manor 12-7 up but Romford hit back with several powerful drives from their forwards, before the scrum-half went through a gap to touch down and level the scores.

Hutcherson dislocated his shoulder when attempting to make a tap tackle soon after, which meant a first-team debut for Adrian Hodgson.

But Romford edged 15-12 up from a successful penalty midway through the half to suggest an upset might be on the cards.

Another attempt was off-target and manor made the most of their reprieve as John Robinson made ground from a turnover.

Reed and McKie carried Manor into Romford’s 22 and although the visitors cleared, the ball reached Ross, who stormed along the touchline before being tackled into touch.

Manor had momentum, though, and Tucker drove from the back of a scrum before being stopped short and Mobray also went agonisingly close before the ball was moved out to Ross and he got over in the corner to put Manor 17-15 ahead.

Tryson Goocdhild gathered the restart and fed Eghan, who ran deep into Romford’s half to win a penalty.

Manor kicked for a lineout and used their maul to good effect once more, before Mobray crossed the gain line and Jones sent Eghan ghosting past his man to score in the corner.

McKie converted to put Manor nine points clear with five minutes left and, after Kevin Reed was stopped two metres short, the home side were able to breathe a sigh of relief as they remained one point clear of title rivals Westcliff, with four matches left.

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