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The London One North will still be very competitive next season, warns Eton Manor head coach Jamie Connors

PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 May 2018

Eton Manor's Moe Alotham tries to find a way past two North Walsham rivals (pic: Martin Pearl).

Eton Manor's Moe Alotham tries to find a way past two North Walsham rivals (pic: Martin Pearl).

Archant

The New Zealander looks ahead to the 2018/19 campaign and reveals the latest on veteran prop John Robinson

Eton Manor won’t have a derby clash with Chingford next season in the London One North, but the division will still be very difficult according to Jamie Connors.

The New Wilderness club want to improve on their fifth place finish from the 2017/18 campaign and they won’t be up against their old foes when the new term kicks-off.

Chingford sealed promotion to the National League Three South with a recent play-off victory over Medway, but Connors still expects the London One North to be very competitive next season.

He said: “It will be a very tough league. There are quite a few good teams from the Essex way and Rochford Hundred have just got promoted and they were unbeaten and scored a lot of points (in the London Two North East).

“I think they will strengthen, so they will be tough and you have Southend Saxons coming down, so it will be a slightly stronger division compared to this year maybe in terms of depth.

“We know it will be hard, but we are certainly keen to push on and look for a top-three finish and even a top-two finish if we can.”

Manor may have to head into the next campaign without one of their most experienced players, at least for the first few months.

John Robinson was set to hang up his boots ahead of becoming a father to twins and so the prop kicked the finals points of the 2017/18 season in the 59-29 win over Saffron Walden on April 21.

It was a nice way for the veteran to sign off his Manor career, although it may end up as a premature retirement.

Connors has yet to give up hope of seeing the stalwart in the Manor blue again, he added: “We will wait to see what happens.

“I am hoping ‘Robbo’ will still be involved in some capacity because he is really important for our four-pack. He is a good leader for us and I’m hoping, obviously fingers crossed everything is okay with the twins and then we might see him after.

“It maybe won’t be right at the beginning of the season, but perhaps a month or two into it.”

So Robinson may return for the 2018/19 season after all and if he does, he and Manor will be up against some new opponents.

As Connors noted, the teams coming down from the National League and up from the London Two North East and North West divisions will make next season’s London One North tough, but with a new pitch on the horizon, Manor can look ahead to 2018/19 with lots of optimism.

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