Eton Manor can only finish year with fifth straight loss
PUBLISHED: 13:00 19 December 2018
The New Wilderness club have work to do in 2019 if they are to finish in the top five again
Eton Manor were unable to halt their poor run in the London One North on Saturday after losing 36-14 to H.A.C to bring the year to an end in disappointing fashion.
Jamie Connors was hoping to see his depleted team finish 2018 on a high with a first victory since the 68-26 success over Luton back on November 3.
It was not the case, however, as H.A.C made the most of the good surface at Manor to run in five tries on another tough day for the Wanstead-based club.
Although it was an away game for the New Wilderness outfit, it took place on their artificial grass pitch (AGP), but Connors’ men were not able to make it count.
Up to 17 players were absent for Manor and it meant former first-team stalwart Garth Tucker made a surprise return to make his first appearance in over two seasons.
On top of this, Connors handed debuts to three players and it was the ‘away side’ who started better in wet and windy conditions.
Manor went ahead after only 14 minutes when Nick Horton took a quick tap and saw space before he found George Cosmo and Paddy Sheehy finished it off smartly.
George Bradley successfully kicked the extras, but this was close to as good as it would get for the side at their home venue.
H.A.C replied with two tries, one of which was converted, but the conditions began to get progressively worse.
Freezing rain made handling difficult, but Manor finished the half strongly with a second try to retake the lead.
Oscar Townend dived over and when Bradley added the extras again, it was 14-12 to the New Wilderness club at the break.
Unfortunately an early score by H.A.C signalled their intentions for the half and by the 50-minute mark, they had increased their lead to 22-14.
Manor, to their credit, fought back impressively and put the ‘hosts’ under pressure, but they just come up short.
H.A.C defended resolutely and grabbed two tries in the closing stages at the New Wilderness to make the victory look a lot more comfortable than it was.
It was tough on Manor, who are in the middle of a bad spell with injuries restricting their options, but they could be proud of their efforts on a bitterly cold afternoon.
Connors will hope to have more players available for the start of 2019 where they will kick-off away to Fullerians on January 5.