Slow start fails to prevent Manor claiming another win
PUBLISHED: 14:00 25 September 2018
London One North: Diss 13 Eton Manor 42
A strong second half display helped Eton Manor return from Diss with a bonus-point win in the London One North last weekend.
Jamie Connors saw his team run in six tries to remain unbeaten in the division after four games this season.
Manor made the long journey to Diss for their first away game of the season with a squad showing nine enforced changes from the previous weeks victory against Fullerians.
This did allow a debut in the centre to Oscar Townend, and with limited options available, Michael Eghan was chosen as the other, having to play out of his normal wing position.
Manor kicked off the game and although had the better of the early exchanges, they looked like a side without cohesion.
With neither side managing to create any scoring opportunities, it was the hosts who began to gain an advantage in both possession and territory.
Although they worked through the phases, they didn’t look like breaking through Manor’s defence, so when the visitors gave away a penalty, Diss took the opportunity to get on the scoreboard and kicked the penalty to take a 3–0 lead with 24 minutes played.
The score seemed to jolt Manor into life and from the restart they upped their game when after a short period of home possession, Manor won a penalty at the breakdown which they kicked to touch.
Here Jack Sullivan won the throw in allowing Manor to set up a driving maul which made 15 meters before the ball was moved along the backline to Eghan.
Eghan handed off two would be tacklers to take play to Diss’s 22 where he broke through another attempted tackle before racing to the line to go over under the posts despite a last ditched attempt to stop him.
Cameron Dutch was successful with the conversion and after 30 minutes Manor had taken lead 3–7.
From the restart Manor took the ball back into Diss’s half where Eghan again proved difficult to stop breaking tackles at will, when he did get stopped he passed the ball out to fullback Elliott Brown who looked to have a clear run to the line only to be brought back by the ref for a forward pass.
As the half moved on, Manor continued to boss the game with most of the action in and around Diss’s 22.
But with time almost up, Diss had a rare foray into the away half where they kept possession well and although they couldn’t break through Manor’s defensive line, they did profit from some more Manor ill-discipline.
When awarded a penalty 35 meters out, the Diss full-back struck a well taken penalty between the posts bringing an end to the first half with the score 6–7 in favour of Manor.
Manor had played well below par in the first half and with Diss starting the second half the visitors were keen to improve their performance.
After kick off, a good box kick by Nick Horton saw play move to just outside Diss’s 22 where the ball went into touch off a Diss player.
Manor now built up the pressure on their hosts and although they lost possession inside Diss’s 22, a kick charge down by Dutch ensured Diss couldn’t clear the danger and eventually Manor were awarded a penalty at scrum time.
Manor chose to take another scrum and although another penalty was awarded with advantage being played, the ball was fed out to debutant Townend who crashed through three attempted tackles to go over the line for Manors second try.
With Dutch adding the extras Manor increased their lead to 6–14 after 5 minutes of the second half played.
Soon after Eghan and Robb Falls combined to take play upfield before it was moved along the line where Reid was out on the wing, he set off down the touchline towards Diss’s 22 but was stopped by a high tackle from one of Diss’s props, a penalty was awarded and a yellow card shown to the Diss player.
With the ball kicked into Diss’s 22 an attacking lineout was won by Manor and quick ball was shipped out to Ollie Waugh, he took a couple of players to bring him down before Sam Handley took the ball on before Sullivan took up the charge but was bundled into touch 5 meters from the line.
The ref had been playing an advantage and Manor took another lineout. Again quick ball found its way out to Eghan, but a good double tackle on him dislodged the ball giving Diss a scrum.
Manor hooker Handley was first to the ball knocking it back onto Manors side and the pack then drove their opponents backwards at pace towards the try line.
With the Diss front row standing up under extreme pressure the ref had no option put to award a penalty try increasing Manor’s lead to 6–21 after 52 minutes.
Manor were now playing the game at a much higher tempo than in the first half and their hosts were struggling to keep up with the pace of the game.
Good charging runs by substitute Misiona Evagelia and Eghan saw Manor again attack Diss inside their 22.
When the ball was move out to the backline Dutch cut back inside and with great footwork beat a number of defenders before ghosting through a gap and diving over the line for Manor’s bonus point try.
He also added the extra points for the conversion and Manor were now on their way to victory at 6–28.
Manors next score came after they turned over Diss possession allowing Dutch to put in a good cross field kick for Brown to chase and gather just inside Diss’s half.
Here he rounded the first defender and set off along the touchline where he evaded the clutches for another defender before sprinting in at the corner then going in behind the posts for a fine seven point try and with 68 gone, Manor’s lead had increased to 6–35.
Seven minutes later, some dissent to the ref gave Manor a penalty five meters out from the try line.
Horton took a quick tap and fed Sullivan who was stopped short of the line, the ball was quickly recycled and fed to the on rushing Evagelia who drove into three defenders but had the strength to drive them backwards and over the line for yet another try.
Dutch kept up his 100 per cent kicking record with the conversion from out wide moving the score onto 6–42.
From the restart and for the first time in the match Manor did not clear their lines properly and gave away a penalty which Diss kicked to the corner.
This gave them a platform to attack Manors line which was defended well, but Manor were giving away a number of penalties which led to Evagelia being sent to the bin for persistent team offences.
Diss took the opportunity to scrum against a weakened Manor pack and after a good drive which Manor couldn’t hold the ref awarded a penalty try to Diss, 13–42, and the full time whistle followed minutes later.
Manor had achieved their goal of a bonus point win against game opponents who never gave up but were very much second best on the day.
Although Manor didn’t play well in the first half, they improved considerably in the second showing what they were capable of.
With Sudbury the visitors to the New Wilderness next, an improved first half performance is a must.
The pleasing thing for the Manor coaching team is that despite half the squad being changed, they were still able to produce a winning performance and so will make Saturday’s selection interesting as more players become available.