Play-off game set to be the biggest in Manor’s history
PUBLISHED: 15:00 25 April 2013
Eton Manor Rugby Club face the biggest game in their history
London Division 1N:
Brentwood 36 Eton Manor 34
Eton Manor face the biggest game in the club’s history this weekend as they fight it out at Basingstoke for a place in National Three next season.
But they go into the play-off on the back of a 36-34 defeat at Brentwood in London One North on Saturday, and although they took the chance to rest several players, other injuries were picked up ahead of the promotion decider.
A number of players were given the weekend off to recover from niggling injuries, with nothing riding on the outcome of Saturday’s match.
Against the run of play, Manor took the lead when Alex Hunter’s fine tackle saw the ball run loose allowing Ben Thomas to react quickest.
After a 25 metre run from the fly half, he fed Garth Tucker who beat the covering defence to touch down, though Thomas missed the difficult conversion.
Uncharacteristic mistakes from Manor led to Brentwood levelling the scores after a series of forward drives, though there was a blow for the hosts when they lost influential scrum half Nick Horton to injury.
However, Manor upped their game and had a period of play inside the visitors half, which resulted in winger Chris Jones finishing off a well-executed attack to move 12-5 ahead after 24 minutes.
And two minutes later the lead was extended when Jones was first to a loose ball before pacing away from the Brentwood defence to score in the corner.
The hosts were well in the ascendancy and after turning the ball over again, Callum McKie kicked to the corner where Hunter was on hand to dive over for a 24-5 lead.
A yellow card for Manor’s John Robinson saw Brentwood take advantage, scoring two tries before the half was out, with one converted to leave the score 29-17 in Manor’s favour at half time.
Despite returning to their full quota Manor found themselves pegged back even further when Brentwood scored one more through their forwards following a line-out.
Injuries were starting to mount up though as Horton’s replacement Callum McKie, alongside Jones, both had to leave the field.
And they soon took their toll when another catch and drive from the lineout produced a forwards try.
This time an excellent conversion from the touchline brought the scores level at 29-29 at the midway point of the second half.
Brentwood continued with their forward orientated game and 10 minutes later it again proved effective as they moved 36-29 in front.
A late try from Alfie Hutcherson gave Thomas a chance to kick Manor to a draw but unfortunately he missed the kick and Brentwood played out the remainder of the half for victory.
A lot will depend on how things go on the treatment table over the coming days as to Manor’s chances at the weekend, but a strong travelling contingent will be on hand to support whoever pulls on the light and dark blue of Eton Manor.
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