London One North: Eton Manor up to fifth after excellent defensive display at home to Thurrock
PUBLISHED: 13:00 01 November 2016
Misiona Evagelia and James Osborn cross over to hand New Wilderness outfit hard fought 18-8 success
Eton Manor produced a remarkable defensive performance to make it three London One North wins on the trot at home to Thurrock.
The New Wilderness outfit leapfrogged their local rivals in the process and now sit fifth after a fifth victory of the campaign.
Thurrock kicked off the match and as Manor tried to run the ball back a big two man tackle on the ball carrier won the visitors a penalty in front of the posts, which they easily converted.
And the visitors soon increased their lead when from the kick off they drove into the hosts defence setting up a ruck.
From the back of the ruck, Thurrock’s number eight picked up the ball, ran past some ineffectual tackling and made 40 meters before finally being brought to ground inside Manor’s 22.
Although Jamie Connors side tried to realign, the damage had been done and the ball was recycled quickly and passed along the line for Thurrock’s opening try.
The conversion was missed, but at 0-8 down after only four minutes of play, Manor were somewhat shell-shocked and needed to wake up otherwise they were going to be thrashed.
But the hosts now started to get into the game, driving at Thurrock where Garth Tucker and Freddie Hatton were proving hard to stop.
Manor worked their way towards Thurrock’s 22 where the ball was fed out to Andrew Connors who broke through a couple of tackles before being brought down, and as the Wanstead club tried to recycle the ball the referee brought play back for a home penalty.
Nick Sheppard stepped up and put the ball between the posts and after eight minutes Manor were back in the match and only five-points behind.
After Nick Horton went so close to reaching the try line, Thurrock managed to launch a counter-attack.
It was effectively turned over by Manor and they in turn forced a knock on and a scrum which allowed Hatton to find Sheppard on the short side.
The centre stepped inside his man and made 20 meters before passing out of the tackle, the referee deemed this pass as forward and halted the attack.
At the scrum, Manor gave away a penalty then a disagreement between the two front rows saw the hosts George Cosma and Thurrock’s tighthead prop both shown a yellow card.
The penalty was reversed in favour of the home team and Sheppard took another shot at goal which was successful bringing the scores closer at 6-8 after quarter of an hour.
Manor were now having the better of things and shortly grabbed their first try of the afternoon at the New Wilderness.
After a maul was brought down illegally by Thurrock, the hosts kicked their penalty into touch, but the line-out didn’t go to plan.
The visitors had the chance to clear the danger from a defending scrum, but Manor got the nudge and this caused the ball to shoot out where Misiona Evagelia was quickest to react and dived over.
Sheppard’s conversion attempt was successful and after 25 minutes of the half, Manor now led 13-8.
Connors team were playing with real purpose, although that was slightly halted when captain Tryson Goodchild was sin binned for saying something untoward at the scrum.
Despite being a man down, Manor continued to dominate, but Sheppard couldn’t add any more points after missing a penalty and it remained 13-8 at the break.
Thurrock began the second period brightly and wasted a penalty kick before struggling to break down the hosts defence.
Manor were left frustrated soon after when the referee failed to play advantage - preventing George Harman scoring a certain try.
And Connors saw his team continue to push for their second score and after being awarded a penalty 45 meters out, they went for the kick.
Sheppard wasn’t able to convert and the end-to-end contest continued heading into the closing stages.
Another penalty was wasted by Manor before they did finally put the game to bed thanks to James Osborn.
Tom O’Connor caught the ball from the line-pit and worked his way towards the line before being brought down illegally just five metres short of the line.
But with the referee this time playing advantage, Osborn snapped up the ball and dived over from close range.
It gave Manor an excellent 18-8 success over a local rival after a brilliant defensive display, but they’ll hope to be more clinical this coming weekend at newly promoted Saffron Walden.
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