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Manor to channel positive energy for Guernsey visit

PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 January 2016

Eton Manor head coach Jamie Connors (pic: Martin Pearl).

Eton Manor head coach Jamie Connors (pic: Martin Pearl).

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New Wilderness outfit have a long journey to play their latest National League match

Eton Manor head coach Jamie Connors has told his team to build on the progress they made towards the end of 2015 as they make the trip to Guernsey this weekend.

The New Wilderness outfit will have to jump on a plane to face the Channel Island team in National League Three South.

Although it is an unusual travel arrangement for a match, the New Zealander has told his side not to let it be used as an excuse.

Last month they delivered some encouraging displays against the top teams in the division and Connors is hoping they can put in another strong performance.

Guernsey, unsurprisingly, have a formidable home record, but Manor believe they can still get something from the game.

“I think it is the first time the club has played over there, it is good fun going to the Channel Islands. I did it once as coach at Southend to play Jersey,” said Connors.

“We have put in some good performances of late against the likes of Tonbridge Juddians and Shelford, strong teams, so we’ll go to Guernsey reasonably confident.

“I think we played pretty well on our own patch against them back in September, getting four tries.

“When I played it didn’t make a difference if you were home or away, at the end of the day it is a surface of grass and two sticks at either end of the pitch.

“But it does seem to make a difference for the guys these days at this level. We’ll be telling them to not worry about playing somewhere different.

“Hopefully we can go there, shake it up a bit and take some points back home.”

Manor’s match with Guernsey is the first of three in January against teams that aren’t in the top six of the division.

This weekend’s opponents are seventh, but following that Manor have a home clash with 11th-placed Colchester.

Although they face London Irish Wild Geese on January 23, they end the month with a game at the New Wilderness against Chichester, who are 10th in the standings.

Taking out the visit to London Irish, the three matches Manor play in January represent a good opportunity for them to register a first win in the National League.

As of yet they have lost all 14 fixtures and have only four points to their name, but Connors remains positive about the new year.

He added: “Mentally more than anything else it was good to have a break over Christmas because it can get pretty intense at times.

“It was nice not to have to worry about rugby for a little while, but we are all back and looking forward to 2016 now.

“We want to hit the ground running. Over the next few weeks we are playing teams near the bottom, so we want to see if we can get a few wins on the board.”

If Manor were to get their first victory in the league this weekend it would make Saturday night even better for the club.

Connors explained the plan for the squad and how they are able to afford a plane to Guernsey.

“We are going to be staying over Saturday night so that is a good opportunity for everyone to enjoy themselves,” added the Manor head coach.

“We’re getting a plane over there. It is a bit of an odd arrangement, the RFU pay for the flight because teams can’t really afford to get over to Guernsey otherwise, so it keeps them in the league. It is good that they subsidise the cost.”


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