Eton Manor’s under-15 girls see memorable South East Area Cup run come to an end with Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks defeat
PUBLISHED: 11:00 29 March 2018
The New Wilderness youngsters produced a number of superb performances to reach the final, but suffered a narrow loss on Sunday
Eton Manor’s under-15 girls came up short in their hopes of winning the South East Area Cup on Sunday, but they take a lot of pride following their excellent run in the competition.
After beating Pulborough plus Dorking and Old Reigatians in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively, Manor were aiming to claim silverware against a physical Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks side.
It wasn’t to be though and despite a strong fightback, the New Wilderness girls lost out by a score of 36-17.
Manor chased well from the kick-off and put strong pressure on the Tunbridge line for the first five minutes, until a turnover at the breakdown enabled Tunbridge to get the ball wide and make use of their two outstanding centres, who powered the length of the pitch for an early converted try.
The New Wilderness girls responded well, but despite some powerful work by the pack were unable to convert their possession into points, as Tunbridge repeatedly put pressure on the line, against a determined Manor defence.
Manor player of the match Isobel Wright earned the girls a breather, successfully hooking the ball from a Tunbridge scrum five metres out, to allow fly-half Ellie Cunningham to clear the ball into touch. But it wasn’t enough as the Tunbridge centres ran in two more tries.
Yet Manor secured a lifeline just before half time, winning a penalty 20 metres out and quick thinking from Maddie Fitch caught Tunbridge unaware, and she crossed the line between the posts, setting up a straightforward conversion for Cunningham as the final play of the first half.
At 19-7 Manor looked as though they could get back into it, and even a fourth Tunbridge try early in the second half didn’t deter them.
Manor were the better side for fifteen minutes, with Number eight Evelyn Weeden unlucky to be penalised for playing on after she appeared to break a Tunbridge tackle.
Manor worked well through the phases, with their second try coming after a sustained period of impressive rucking, Fitch eventually diving across the line by the corner flag.
The Manor girls were showing glimpses of their best, with several crashing runs from flanker Lauren Manners who repeatedly broke the Tunbridge line.
A quick pass from a breakdown just inside the Tunbridge half gave full back Nikiyah Talbot the opportunity she needed to run at the defence, breaking several tackles before being stopped ten metres short.
A neat offload to Tamara Morrison secured the try, and brought Manor back within sight of Tunbridge with around ten minutes to play.
Tunbridge resisted the temptation to sit on their lead, and continued to attack, but Manor’s tackling was much improved from the first half, with two text book tackles from substitute winger Ellen Darcy’s preventing two certain tries.
But the excellent organisation of the Tunbridge backs gave them repeated overlaps, and they were eventually able to capitalise, running in two more tries in the last five minutes for what was ultimately a convincing 36-17 win and a spot in the semi-finals of the National Cup.
Manor had suffered a loss, but had given their all and will look to build on this run as they enter festival season.
Eton Manor girls teams welcome new players in school years 6-12. For more information contact Jackie Clune (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Eton Manor under-15 girls squad: 9 Maddie Fitch, 10 Ellie Cunningham, 11 Ellen Darcy, 12 Tamara Morrison, 13 Amy Fitch, 14 Clio Godwin, 15 Nikiyah Talbot, 1 Amina Benajeh, 2 Isobel Wright, 3 Simbi Sikiru, 4 Sophie Watkinson, 5 Christina Campbell, 6 Scarlett Bowden (c), 7 Saoirse Clune, 8 Evelyn Weeden, 16 Lauren Manners, 17 Maddison Kirrage, 18 Nansai Mooney.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ilford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.