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Manor take over in title race

Lineout action from Eton Manor's clash with Westcliff (pic: Isabel Infantes) Lineout action from Eton Manor's clash with Westcliff (pic: Isabel Infantes)

Monday, March 10, 2014
12:00 PM

London Div 1N: Eton Manor 8 Westcliff 0

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Eton Manor took over at the top of London One North with a hard-fought win over previous leaders Westcliff.

Manor had won their earlier meeting on the coast and saw Callum McKie produce intelligent kicking from the start.

Full-back Mark Woollard also impressed for the hosts, but Westcliff had the first chance of note when a series of fast attacks took them into the home 22.

A kick behind Manor’s defensive line caused problems, as Westcliff’s hacked the ball on, but it went over the dead ball line.

Manor’s forwards began to get a grip on play and the backs showed themselves capable of a fast, expansive game as Chris Jones came in off his wing and made ground before being isolated.

Westcliff then produced a series of drives from a scrum in the Manor 22, but the home defence held firm to clear the danger.

Number eight Garth Tucker went on the blindside before feeding the backs, with Alex Hunter and Stephen Ross crossing the gain line before Barney Newbury joined the attack.

Westcliff were eventually penalised for going over the top and McKie slotted the kick from 25 metres to open the scoring on 18 minutes.

The visitors enjoyed a period of pressure and got close to Manor’s line, before Newbury held up a bulky Westcliff prop.

McKie cleared downfield for a lineout and Ian Edwards won good ball, before Hunter and captain Tryson Goodchild made good yards.

Alfie Hutcherson charged down an attempted clearance and looked set to touch down before being brought back by the referee for an earlier knock-on.

Westcliff countered but Manor’s defence was strong once more and Tucker made progress before sending Will Mowbray upfield.

Nick Horton found ross on the wing, but he was eventually taken into touch 10 metres short.

Manor continued to dominate the scrum in the second half and Tucker surged forward to within a few metres of the line, before Kevin Reed pounced to ship the ball out to Mowbray for a try on the overlap.

The home side stayed strong at the lineout and Westcliff hopes foundered on Manor’s miserly defence.

The visitors missed a penalty attempt midway through the half and Manor ran the ball out from behind their line through Ross before McKie cleared to halfway.

Manor continued to force their rivals back, with John Robinson crashing through tackles on one surge, and Westcliff missed a long-range penalty late on, in a bid for a losing bonus point.

McKie sent a last-gasp drop goal attempt wide for Manor, but they had done enough to complete a double and leapfrog their rivals into pole position ahead of a home meeting with Romford & Gidea Park next weekend.

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