London One North: Eton Manor lose Chingford derby, but can take a lot from close clash with rivals says head coach Jamie Connors
PUBLISHED: 17:00 21 December 2017
After pushing the division leaders so close last weekend, the New Zealander is looking for a better level of consistency from his squad in 2018
Eton Manor currently sit seventh in the London One North heading into 2018, but head coach Jamie Connors is positive about what they can do in the New Year.
The New Wilderness outfit ended the calendar year with a 19-18 loss away to local rivals and leaders Chingford on Saturday which left the players and coaches with mixed emotions.
Although Manor were gutted to suffer a defeat in such a tight contest, especially after missing a number of convertible kicks, the performance they produced showed they have a better squad than the table currently suggests.
Connors said: “If we turn up and play like that each week we won’t be floating between sixth or seventh, we’ll be in the top three or four.
“We believe that’s where our potential is, but it is a matter of making sure we turn up and do the same thing all the time.
“We have to turn up as if we are playing a test match every week, so that’s the mental side of things for the guys to think about now and to make sure they front up each week.”
Manor may currently sit in seventh position, but they are only two points off North Walsham in fifth.
Fourth-placed Colchester are eight points better off than Connors’ side, but the Wanstead-based club will strive for better consistency in 2018.
On another day they may well have ended the current year with a victory after running local foes Chingford close on Saturday.
The hosts took the lead after seven minutes through a penalty, but Manor responded 20 minutes later with an excellent try.
Reece Reed, Garth Tucker and Callum McKie combined nicely before Luigi Martelletti went over.
George Harman took on the kicking duties with Sheppard unavailable and added the extras to make it 7-3, but two penalties enabled Chingford to retake a 9-7 lead with 33 played.
Manor went back in front when Harman converted a penalty, but some ill-discipline from the away side saw the hosts get another kicking chance, which they took to lead 12-10 at half time.
Harman soon put the visitors back in front after the break, but he then missed two penalties.
Chingford made Manor pay by earning a penalty try, but back came the away side with John Robertson crossing over, though Harman missed the resulting conversion and it finished 19-18.
“Did Saturday show we are not far away from the best side in the league? Yes definitely and that’s a big positive all-round,” said Connors.
“While we were pretty disappointed with the result, we can take a lot from it and hopefully we hit the ground running in 2018 and have a decent January compared to the one we had this year.”