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Performance is key for Manor in derby against Woodford

09:00 18 December 2014

Eton Manor head coach Jamie Connors (left)

Eton Manor head coach Jamie Connors (left)

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New Wilderness outfit bounced back from first defeat of season to record comfortable London One North win

Eton Manor's Ben Lockyer looks to make progress against North Walsham (pic: Martin Pearl)Eton Manor's Ben Lockyer looks to make progress against North Walsham (pic: Martin Pearl)

Eton Manor visit local rivals Woodford this weekend, but head coach Jamie Connors isn’t taking them lightly despite their torrid record this season.

The Highams outfit have picked up just one victory all campaign, losing 12 matches and conceding over a century of points on two separate occasions.

Eton Manor's Ian Edwards prepares to touch down against North Walsham (pic: Martin Pearl)Eton Manor's Ian Edwards prepares to touch down against North Walsham (pic: Martin Pearl)

But New Zealander Connors is not interested in how many points his team put on the board, just the level of performance they deliver.

“The score is irrelevant, it is the performance that is more important for me and how we go about our game,” said Connors.

“The challenge is for us to play for 80 minutes. Last week against North Walsham was more of a 50-minute display.

“We expect to get five points against Woodford, but it is more how we go about it.

“It doesn’t matter whether it is 50 points or 100 points, it is about how we perform and finishing properly before Christmas.”

Connors does not expect Woodford’s pitch to be in great condition, but concedes neither is the New Wilderness at this time of year so his team will be fully prepared for the challenge.

He added: “I haven’t played on their pitch at this time of year, but everyone tells me it isn’t great.

“It isn’t any worst than ours at this time of year. It is a bit of a bowl, surrounded by trees so you get a lot of surface water.

“Eton Manor and Woodford games always have something in them, we are two of the closest teams in the division. We need to turn up and prepare properly.”

Manor bounced back from their first London One North defeat of the season against Letchworth to beat North Walsham 36-7 for a bonus-point win last weekend.

They ran in five first-half tries through Kevin Reed, Ian Edwards, Chris Jones, Ben Lockyer and a penalty try to put the game to bed.

Michael Eghan could only add one more score in the second period, but Connors was happy.

“I was really disappointed with the week before,” he added. “It is tough to stay focused for eight months, but it was good to bounce back from the Letchworth defeat and put in a performance.

“The first half was very pleasing, we killed the game off. The conditions didn’t help us and also that we had put them away already.

“But the conditions were probably the biggest factor as to why we didn’t score more in the second half.”

Walsham have an awful away record, but Connors was pleased with the response from his team and hopes they can get firmly back on track, adding: “I know the North Walsham coach quite well and they haven’t won on the road for 12 months now. He is baffled why they haven’t.

“We did play very well and was back to some of the performances we put in at the start of the season, which was pleasing.”

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