Manor's poor run continues with reverse at Amersham & Chiltern
PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 December 2018
London One North: Amersham & Chiltern 22 Eton Manor 15
Eton Manor made the trip to Amersham & Chiltern looking to reverse their recent poor run of results on Saturday and with another two players joining the growing injury list, Jamie Connors team knew things would not be easy against a side that had showed improvement over their early season form.
In the end, the New Wilderness club lost another London One North game they could have won and are still searching to rediscover their winning mentality.
Manor kicked off the match playing uphill, but with a strong breeze at their backs and had the better of the early exchanges.
From a scrum away captain Nick Horton got clean ball allowing him to break down the blind side and chip ahead into the dead ball area, but the ball rolled dead before he could reach it.
Amersham were now in the game and worked their way up into Manor’s 22 where they won a scrum.
Here they got the drive on and won a penalty which they converted into points from 20 meters out. After 12 minutes, the hosts had taken a 3–0 lead.
Manor came straight back at their opponents, putting pressure on at the restart, but Amersham cleared the danger through a box kick which was well taken by Paddy Sheehy, who set off into the oncoming defenders.
Here a high tackle was penalised which allowed Manor to kick to touch for an attacking lineout 6 meters from the try line.
A period of pressure from the visitors followed with the away pack taking it in turns to drive towards the line, but Amersham, for their part, defended well initially repelling Manor’s drives.
Eventually they were penalised on a couple of occasions and this allowed Connors’ side to keep up the pressure and after further drives by Ollie Waugh, Jack Sullivan and Calvin Bradley, and with the referee playing advantage for yet another penalty, Horton spotted Luigi Martelletti in space.
He sent a long looping pass over two defenders into the hands of Martelletti, on the wing, who scampered over the line for Manor’s first try.
George Bradley took on the difficult touchline conversion and added the extra points after the ball hit the upright and went over the bar.
Manor had now taken the lead 7-3 after 17 minutes of action and continued to have the better of things and from a scrum on halfway, Waugh broke off the back before feeding Horton and he executed a pre-planned move bringing Aaron Lowe into the attack.
Lowe broke through a number of tackles as he moved into Amersham’s 22, here he again linked up with Horton who took the ball on and when he was tackled short of the line he passed out to George Bradley who was in the clear, but the pass was just behind him.
George Bradley couldn’t hold on, knocking the ball on in the process, and so a certain try had been squandered.
Amersham now had a period of pressure and it was their turn to batter Manor’s try line, Manor repelled the pick and drives, but when Amersham changed tactic and moved the ball along the line, George Bradley stuck out a hand to try and intercept the ball but only succeeded in knocking it on.
The ref deemed this a deliberate act and sent George Bradley to the sin bin and from the subsequent penalty, the easy three points were taken and the score moved on to 7-6 to Manor with 10 minutes of the half to play.
Amersham were making the best of their extra man advantage and after they moved the ball out wide, only a good covering tackle by Martelletti prevented their winger from getting close to Manor’s line.
A further attack saw the ball kicked in behind Manor’s line and only the pace of Horton winning the race to the ball prevented a try.
With the half coming to a close and Manor back to full strength, they began to get the upper hand and kept Amersham pinned in their half, but couldn’t find their way through Amersham’s defences and after a couple of knock on’s, one from each side, the ref brought the half to a close.
With Amersham kicking off the second half playing with the wind, Manor soon gave their opponents an opportunity to take the lead when they were caught offside.
The simple kick was successful and within two minutes of the second half the score had moved on to 9-7 to the hosts.
Manor responded immediately when a good chase of the r-start saw Sheehy jump the highest and claim the ball before driving forward.
The attack was taken on by Sullivan and Calvin Bradley before Amersham were themselves caught offside. George Bradley took the shot at goal and Manor had retaken the lead 10-9 after five minutes of the second period.
Amersham were now playing the better rugby, however, and after a period of pressure inside Manor’s 22, they worked space out wide and look to have broken through to score only for the final pass to be deemed forward letting Manor off the hook.
Manor worked their way up to halfway with good runs by Lowe and Oscar Townend before winning a penalty which was kicked to touch just outside Amersham’s 22.
The visitors won the line out and were awarded a free kick, which the referee then changed to a penalty and showed a red card to the Amersham flanker for verbal abuse.
Manor kicked for a lineout six meters from the line, but the throw in wasn’t straight giving Amersham a defending scrum.
Amersham packed down with their winger at blindside, but Manor destroyed the Amersham scrum driving it back over the try line where Misiona Evagelia scored the try.
Bradley’s attempted conversion again hit the post, but this time bounced back into the field of play yett the five-point try meant Manor had increased their lead to 15-9 after 58 minutes.
Manor soon gifted their opponents another three points when soon after the restart they were caught offside in front of the posts, from here the reliable Amersham kicker had no problem putting the ball between the posts to reduce the deficit to 15-12 with 62 on the clock.
The score buoyed Amersham and they were soon back on the attack and after a period of sustained pressure, their fly-half ran through a poor attempted tackle and went under the posts for a seven-point score to retake the lead 19–15.
Manor were now striving to find the score that would give them back the lead, but their play became disjointed and basic errors and poor tactical options hindered their chances.
When Manor were penalised for an infringement at a ruck, Amersham took full advantage by kicking the penalty over to increase their lead to 22–15 with a few minutes of play left.
From the restart, Manor competed and turned the ball over then put together a series of driving runs that saw play move to Amersham’s 22, but the home side defended well and a handling error brought the contest to an end.
Manor are going through a rough patch at the moment and don’t seem able to buy a win at any costs. Once their confidence returns along with some of the injured players then this should hopefully change.
With the season at the halfway stage, Manor are not where they had hoped to be in the league and with a difficult fixture this week against H.A.C, they know they will have to put in a much improved performance if they are to end the year with a much-needed victory.