London One North: Jamie Connors and Eton Manor ‘gutted’ after narrow loss at leaders Chingford
PUBLISHED: 12:30 20 December 2017
Local rivals produced a thrilling contest at Waltham Way last weekend, but it was the hosts who claimed the spoils in a 19-18 victory
Jamie Connors conceded Eton Manor were gutted not to end Chingford’s unbeaten home record in the London One North this season on Saturday.
The two local clubs did battle at Waltham Way and a close contest finished 19-18 to the hosts.
Chingford, who only lost twice on home soil last season, were given a scare, but come full time, Manor were left to reflect on what might have been.
“It was a good game, a really good game, but we were pretty gutted at the end because I thought we created enough opportunities to win it and more than they did,” said Connors.
“We scored two tries and they didn’t look like scoring, but got a penalty try after a slightly lucky break.
“We did miss a few kicks at goal unfortunately and a couple of sitters otherwise it would’ve been a well-deserved victory for us.”
Chingford took the lead at Waltham Way thanks to a seventh-minute penalty, but it wasn’t a sign of things to come.
Manor settled into their task soon after with some solid defending and even better attacking play, which resulted in the first try in the 27th minute.
Reece and Garth Tucker combined well before Callum McKie found wide-man Luigi Martelletti, who crossed off after demonstrated his fine pace.
George Harman took on the kicking duties with Nick Sheppard unavailable and added the two points to make it 3-7.
A brace of penalties put Chingford back in front before Harman added a penalty of his own to make it 9-10 in the 36th minute.
Some ill-discipline by Manor allowed the home side to add three points on the stroke of half time and come in 12-10 ahead.
It didn’t take the visitors long to retake the lead after the restart when Harman converted another penalty.
Manor’s designated kicker for the day failed to make the most of two more penalty kicks as the score remained 12-13.
Chingford made Connors’ team pay when they earned a penalty try in the 65th minute to go 19-13 in front.
The New Wilderness outfit were not to be deterred, however, and crossed over five minutes later thanks to John Robertson.
Harman unfortunately missed the extras, so Chingford held a 19-18 advantage and Reed was sent to the sin-bin, the game looked over.
Manor failed to let up though and after defending an initial wave of attack from the hosts, they pushed for a final chance, but it never arrived.
Connors said: “We gave them a couple of reasonably soft penalties. A minute before half time we had a penalty to kick to touch for a catch and drive, but we gave them the ball back from a silly exit on a offside and then we gave away a silly penalty.
“Chingford slotted three points from that before half time, so there were probably three or four penalties which we didn’t need to give away in the first 40 and we gave them a few points there.
“It is just one of those things and in rugby it’s not just about creating opportunities, you’ve got to take them and whilst we took our tries, we were unable to convert the points when it mattered, so it was disappointing and the boys were pretty gutted.”
Although the overriding feeling was one of frustration, Manor had become just the second side this term to take points off of Chingford.
The leaders had only lost once all season – away to Brentwood on November 25 – and had picked up a winning bonus point in every other fixture before Saturday.
Connors added: “Chingford are top at the moment for a reason and they’ve only lost once all season, so to go there and put on a performance like that shows we have a pretty decent side ourselves. From that point of view Saturday was a big positive.”