Manor secure much-needed win away to lowly Luton
- Credit: Archant
London One North: Luton 8 Eton Manor 43
Eton Manor ended their four-match losing streak in the London One North with a victory at Luton on Saturday.
Jamie Connors had seen his team drop down the table following a poor run of form in 2019, but they managed to arrest their slump in Bedfordshire.
Manor travelled to Luton seeking a much-needed win against a team who have found life hard since their promotion this season.
With the hosts kicking off, Manor couldn’t have had a better start as the kick-off went directly into touch giving Manor the first scrum of the day.
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With the ball secured, Nick Horton utilised the large blind side then linked up with debutant winger George Palmer, he gathered the pass and set off at pace into Luton’s 22 where he chipped the ball over the last defender and then won the race to dot the ball down just before it went out of play.
Although Cameron Dutch missed the touchline conversion, Manor had made the prefect start leading 5-0 after three minutes.
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From the restart, Manor let their opponents back into the game by falling foul of the ref’s whistle, something that they did a disproportionate amount compared to their opposition.
Luton kicked for an attacking line-out, but the throw in was stolen by Dan Peasnell allowing Manor to clear the danger.
The home side again attacked and again Manor were penalised, this time for offside, and Luton opted for the simple kick at goal and after five minutes, the score stood at 5-3.
Luton now enjoyed a period of time attacking inside the visitors’ half, again helped by regular penalties awarded against the New Wilderness-based club, but Manor’s defence was well organised and Luton didn’t look like adding to their tally.
After weathering the pressure, it was Manors turn to work their way into Luton’s half aided by a kick to touch from a penalty by Horton that took play to within 15 meters of Luton’s line.
Jack Sullivan won the throw in allowing Manor to set up a driving maul taking play towards the try line, but this was illegally stopped short of the line giving Manor another kick to touch for a 5-meter lineout.
Again with the throw in secured, Manor set up a maul, but this time Luton defended this well and were awarded a penalty when Manor came in at the side of a ruck.
The game was a scrappy affair with Luton getting their fair share of possession but not looking like troubling Manors defence.
Manor were in the ascendency in the scrums and were regularly stealing Luton’s line-out ball, even so it wasn’t until 31 minutes of the match that Manor scored again.
From the halfway line, Manor turned over Luton’s ruck ball allowing them to set up a counter attack, the ball was moved to Carly Buisson who made good ground through the centre before linking up with Dutch, who changed the line of attack catching Luton off guard.
He then fed Garth Tucker, who powered his way 30 meters upfield before drawing the last defender and passing back to Dutch who raced in at the corner for Manors second try.
Although the conversion was missed by Dutch, Manor now led 10-3 and from the restart, Robb Falls gathered the kick and drove forwards winning a penalty.
Horton took a quick tap and go, linking up with Palmer, who made his way along the touchline before passing back to Horton, he in turn made ground before seeing Sullivan free on the outside, but the pass was just behind him and a promising attack ground to a halt.
Luton worked their way back into Manor’s 22, but were met by solid defending by Manor and when the ball was knocked on, Horton pounced on the ball and with the ref playing an advantage, he spotted Palmer free on his wing and sent a long pass out to him.
From his own 22, Palmer set off down his wing outpacing all the covering defenders to go over the line and under the posts for Manor’s third try of the match and with Dutch adding the extras, Manor now led 17-3 after 36 minutes.
Connors’ men were now in control of the match and scored another two tries before halftime.
The first came when Peasnell stole a Luton lineout inside their 22, the ball fell to Falls who drove forward setting up a ruck and with quick ball to the backline, Dutch began to run across his line, only to change direction and run through a small gap in Luton’s defensive line to score his second try.
With the conversion again successful, Manor had increased their lead to 24-3 with the referee playing injury time.
With the last play of the half, it was Dutch who again began the move which led to the last try of the opening 40.
From his 10 meter line, he put in a little grubber kick through Luton’s defensive line, the ball bounced kindly allowing him to gather his own kick.
With defenders converging on Dutch, he again put in a grubber kick, this time full-back Frank Webber chased and gathered the ball and sprinted into Luton’s 22, as he was tackled he passed to the supporting Harry Bone allowing the young winger to race over the line.
Bone went behind the posts for another seven point score and with the referee bringing the half to a close, Manor led 31-3.
The visitors’ kicked off the second half with Manor picking up where they left off, in the ascendancy.
Good breaks from Peasnell and Jamie Millais saw Manor get close to Luton’s line, but a knock-on eventually prevented another away score.
Still Manor pressed, this time is was a great break by Webber that saw him take play from inside his half to within 10 meters of Luton’s line, but as he was tackled he couldn’t get the pass away to the two unmarked Manor players on his left and another certain try had gone begging.
The game went though a period of poor play by both sides and as Manor’s intensity dropped, Luton worked their way back into the match.
The hosts’ had a sustained period of attacking play inside Manor’s 22 and eventually they managed to work space out wide to go in at the corner for their only try of the match.
With the conversion missed, they had reduced the deficit to 31-8 after 25 minutes of the second half.
The score seemed to spur Manor back into life and the next score came from yet another line-out steal.
This allowed quick ball to be fed to Manor’s backs where Buisson made another excellent break through the middle before he passed on to Dutch, and he put through another excellent kick into Luton’s 22 where Manor’s number eight Tucker was first to the bouncing ball.
He gathered and went over the line for another converted try and with 28 minutes of the second half gone, Manor had increased their lead to 38-8.
Luton, to their credit, didn’t give up and continued to fight for every ball, but it was Manor who finished off the scoring after a move started by a powerful run from Millais, who then linked up with Buisson.
Buisson took play to just outside Luton’s 22 where he fed the supporting Dutch, who outpaced the defence to go over for his third try of the match and although he couldn’t add the conversion, Manor now held a 43-8 advantage.
With time left on the clock, Manor continued to search for further scores, but were unable to add to their tally as the ref blew for full-time.
The New Wilderness outfit had got what they had come for, a bonus-point win and although Luton never gave up the fight, Manor won quite comfortably in the end.
Next up for Manor is a trip to Old Priorians, who sit one place below them in the league. Connors’ side will be looking to build on this performance and reverse the defeat they suffered earlier in the season to this weekend’s opponents.