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London One North: Eton Manor aiming to build on top-five finish once AGP is completed, says Jamie Connors

PUBLISHED: 17:30 02 May 2018

Eton Manor's Brad Burrell in action against Old Priorians (pic: Martin Pearl).

Eton Manor's Brad Burrell in action against Old Priorians (pic: Martin Pearl).

Archant

The New Zealander reflected on the 2017/18 campaign and explained why optimism is rife at the New Wilderness

Jamie Connors admitted it was disappointing Eton Manor failed to claim a top-four finish in the London One North this season, but is positive about the future.

The New Wilderness club seemed to be in the driving seat to come third in the table heading into the last month of the campaign.

After defeating Old Priorians 39-19 on March 24, Manor moved up to third, but a loss at home to Colchester and an away reverse at North Walsham saw them drop down to fifth come April 21.

Connors said: “Finishing fifth was a disappointment because we certainly had opportunities to beat Colchester and Walsham and we outscored them try-wise, but we couldn’t get over the line when it come to the actual result.

“We only needed to beat one of them to get fourth, but Colchester obviously did pretty well at the end of the season.

“Overall we felt we had chances to win both of them games, so that is a little bit of a negative for us, but we won more games than last season and scored more points too, so there are plenty of positives for us to take as well.

“We’ve managed to introduce quite a few good, young players of late and I think it is an exciting times for us.

“The new artificial pitch should be finished around June time and the club feels like a good place to be right now and it definitely will be next season.”

Manor had work start at their New Wilderness base in February to install an Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP) and after months of work it is nearing completion.

Connors explained the general buzz at the club about the new surface and what it could mean, especially during the winter months of the 2018/19 campaign.

He said: “I think every time you go to the club you can see the progress being made on the pitch and all of the PDC posts – they are the posts which go in and around the pitch and they have all gone in.

“The new changing room is almost finished as well and it is a really big boost for the boys and I know they are all looking forward to getting stuck into pre-season on the new pitch and training and playing on it.

“I can’t see why it wouldn’t help us attract new players, but for the guys who are already here it will certainly be a game changer in the winter months.”

Although Manor were slightly unhappy with their fifth-placed finish, the early signs suggest the next season could be memorable.

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