Connors: Optimism is returning at Eton
PUBLISHED: 14:30 15 October 2015
Although defeated on Saturday, the New Zealand coach is pleased with how things are starting to shape up
With performances improving and players returning, things are looking a lot more positive at Eton Manor according to head coach Jamie Connors.
The New Wilderness outfit dominated for long spells against Chichester last weekend, but still suffered a 36-10 loss in National League Three South.
A poor period after half time cost the New Zealander and his side, but with a blank weekend now and a chance to regroup, things are looking promising again.
“It is a good chance for us to take stock this weekend,” said Connors. “The guys have got the week off. We have a second team match so some people coming back from injury or needing extra game time will play in that.
“Hopefully our captain Tryson Goodchild will return for the Gravesend fixture on October 24.
“We will have to wait and see, but he is back at work so that is a good sign. A couple of other guys should potentially come back and have a run-out for the seconds so things are starting to look good and be more positive at the club.”
Manor struggled to adapt to life in the National League initially with so many injuries to contend with, but their performances have improved in recent weeks.
Connors revealed Mike Eghan and Jack Sullivan should return before Christmas and having only one match over the next three weeks, because of the Rugby World Cup, is a positive.
Although they were beaten by Chichester on Saturday, the Manor coach added: “It was probably our best performance of the year.
“They are not as strong as some of the sides we have played so far, but we gave a pretty good account of ourselves and our defence was much better. We showed a bit more hunger and desire for the 80.
“We had a bad patch after half time where we leaked a few tries, but all in all I think it was an improved performance.”
That spell after the break would turn out to be key with the half-time score just 14-3 to the hosts.
Ian Edwards crossed over for Manor in the second half and Nick Horton kicked seven points, but they gave themselves too much to do following that poor start to the second period.
There were plenty of positives to take, however, as Connors said: “The key was that spell after half time, Chichester scored a lot of tries. I’m not sure how many, but they got a few and it was only 14-3 at the break, so that period was the nail in the coffin for us really.
“We came back well and had attacked them quite a lot in the final 15 minutes of the first half. We were all over them on the try-line and looked quite good, but unfortunately couldn’t capitalise and get a try before the interval.
“In the last 20 of the second half we were all over them again. They were giving away penalties and receiving yellow cards.
“We did manage to get a try, but we probably should have got at least another one. It was a much better performance and Ben Thomas was back as well. He got 50 minutes under his belt and has come through okay so that’s a big positive for us moving forward.”
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