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No room for complacency says Manor coach

Peter Bicknell runs in a try for Eton Manor at Colchester (pic: Martin Pearl) Peter Bicknell runs in a try for Eton Manor at Colchester (pic: Martin Pearl)

Thursday, February 27, 2014
11:00 AM

Connors: It’s all to play for

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Eton Manor coach Jamie Connors says his side cannot afford to relax as the London One North promotion race goes down to the wire.

Manor battled to a 15-9 win at Colchester last weekend, finishing the match with 12 men after receiving two red cards and a late yellow.

They trail leaders Westcliff, who come to the New Wilderness on Saturday week, by four points and Connors reckons it is a three-horse race at the top.

He said: “We’ve got to go the Brentwood next so it doesn’t get any easier. It was 3-0 at our place earlier in the season due to the weather and the pitch.

“There are three sides still in it. Colchester are probably out of it now but we’re second and we’ve got Westcliff to come to us for a massive game and we’ve got Luton at the end of the season so it’s all to play for.”

A strong defensive display proved key at Colchester, after stunning first-half tries from Peter Bicknell and Michael Eghan put Manor 12-0 up at half-time.

Mark Woollard added his second penalty of the match soon after the restart to extend the lead, but the hosts replied with a pair of kicks to cut the gap to nine points before a full-scale brawl broke out around the hour mark.

Manor saw Ciaran Bowman and Carl Miller dismissed by referee David Parsons as a result, while Colchester escaped with just one yellow card.

And the home side added another penalty to close to within six points 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.

Connors added: “When you’re down to 13 men and then 12, the guts and attitude that we’ve shown this season held true.

“We can hold our heads high and I’m delighted with the win.

“It’s a tough place to come and we know what these guys are about. They like to run it in the backs, but we feel we’ve got the edge on most teams up front and it worked.

“The first try was a good team try. We had camped in their 22 for a while and we deserve it in the end. The second try was a great individual effort.”

As for the trouble that flared in the second half, Connors added: “If guys throw punches, they’re liable to get red cards.

“It’s hard in the heat of the moment when you see your mates getting punched. I’m disappointed there was a fight but it had been brewing for a bit before that and maybe the referee didn’t deal with it the best.

“But when there’s an all-in brawl and we get two red cards and they only get a yellow. I’m disappointed with the decisions. I got punched myself trying to break it up.”

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