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Hard-fought win for Eton Manor

Lineout action from Eton Manor's London One North clash at Colchester Lineout action from Eton Manor's London One North clash at Colchester

Saturday, February 22, 2014
7:00 PM

London 1N: Colchester 9 Eton Manor 15

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Manor held on for a hard-fought win at Mill Road, despite finishing an ill-tempered clash with 12 men.

First-half tries from Peter Bicknell and Michael Eghan helped the visitors into a 12-0 lead at half time, which Mark Woollard extended with a penalty soon after the restart.

But Colchester replied with a pair of penalties themselves, before a mass brawl erupted midway through the second half.

It began when one of the Colchester flankers began throwing punches at Manor’s Alfie Hutcherson.

Players from both sides joined in as the scrap spilled over the touchline and onto the Manor bench, but once the dust had settled it was the visitors who paid the heavier price.

Ciaran Bowman and Carl Miller were shown red cards by referee David Parsons, while Colchester’s flanker received only a yellow card.

The home side could not believe their luck and a third penalty left them six points adrift with plenty of time still to play.

But Manor’s 13 men dug deep in the final quarter and, after Bicknell received a late yellow card to reduce their number further, they saw off a last-gasp Colchester attack to claim victory.

Colchester had had the first chance to open the scoring, but a 45-metre penalty attempt into a headwind dropped well short.

A second effort, from around 35 metres, was also short and right of the target before Manor began to apply pressure in the scrum.

The visiting lineout also worked well, with Tryson Goodchild hitting Ian Edwards with regularity, as Nick Horton and Chris Jones combined well at half back.

The deadlock was broken around the 25-minute mark when another strong scrum by Manor in the home 22 set up the chance for Jones to hit Bicknell, coming into the line at pace, and he ran to the right of the posts before touching down underneath them, allowing Woollard a simple conversion for a 7-0 lead.

Manor continued to outruck and outmaul the home side and Garth Tucker made a great break, only to throw the ball out of play.

But the visitors extended their lead when Colchester took a quick penalty on the Manor 22, only to see a pass intercepted by Woollard, who scampered left and threw a pass to Eghan, before the flying winger turned on the after burners and sped clear up the wing for a stunning solo score.

Colchester missed a third penalty of the half from just outside the 22 but, after the referee spoke to both captains, Manor saw Barney Newbury yellow carded for persistent team infringements.

Woollard’s penalty put Manor 15-0 up early in the second half, before Dave Higgins opened Colchester’s account with a kick of his own.

Another followed soon after before the red mist descended, but Colchester could make no further inroads as Manor defended for all their worth.

Manor: Bowman, Goodchild, D Horton, Hutcherson, Edwards, Newbury, K Reed, Tucker, N Horton, Jones, Eghan, Hunter, Bicknell, R Reed, Woollard. Subs: Butler, Miller, Thomas.

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