Manor fail to fire against Brentwood
This weeks match report
Manor welcomed Brentwood to the New Wilderness this week and knew that they were in for a tough match from a team that had finished third in the league last season. The team showed a number of changes from last weeks comprehensive win at Fullerians including flying winger Ollie Phillips who picked up a knock at training. Manors plans were further disrupted when new centre Chris Smith pulled a muscle during the warm up and will be out for a number of weeks.
Brentwood kicked off the game but the kick went directly into touch giving Manor possession from a scrum. This allowed Manor to put the visitors under pressure keeping them pinned inside their half until a penalty, one of many that Manor would give away, allowed Brentwood to clear the danger. Manor again launched an attack which resulting them winning a lineout. With clean ball won and a driving maul set up Manor moved forward then released the ball along the back line, but a mistake from the miss-firing backs allowed the visitors outside centre to intercept the ball and run three-quarters of the length of the pitch to score against the run of play. With the easy conversion taken Manor were behind 0-7 after 9 minutes of play.
Manor continued to press Brentwood but wrong choices and poor handling let them down allowing the visitors to work their way into Manors territory with some strong forward runs backed up by some efficient back play. Manor again fell foul of the ref and gave away a kickable penalty, luckily for Manor the chance was missed.
Brentwood now had a period of ascendency pinning Manor back in their half, they worked the ball well along their back line and out to their winger who raced towards the line but was stopped by a high tackle. The ref awarded a penalty which Brentwood kicked for a 5 meter lineout. Here Manors Tom O’Connor got in front of the jumper stealing the throw which allowed Manor to clear the danger. But Brentwood maintained the pressure and this soon produced dividends when Manor were caught offside in front of the posts. The gift of three points were taken and after 17 minutes Manor trailed 0-10
Manor now stirred back into life and attacked Brentwood’s line, but the visitors defence held firm but they did give away a penalty which Manor chose to take a scrum from. Here Misiona Evagelia drove off from the base then fed Nick Sheppard out on the wing but the Brentwood defenders covered the attack well and forced him into touch before he could cross the line. Manor competed at the line and stole the throw in, with the ball finding it’s way to Tryson Goodchild, he powered his way towards the line but had the ball knocked out of his grasp when he got close to scoring allowing Brentwood to clear the danger from a scrum.
Manor continued to press but Brentwood defended well and looked dangerous when their backs got possession. A good break from their fly half saw play move into Manor 22 where Nick Horton put in an excellent tackle winning Manor a penalty in the process. Brentwood now had the upper hand with their backline working well, they were always a threat in attack and from a well constructed attack where both forwards and backs combined well Brentwood worked their way into the danger area and although Brentwood’s centre was tackled short of the line, good support play ensured that the attack was finished off with a try under the posts. With the conversion again successful Brentwood went into the half time break with a comfortable 0-17 lead.
The half time talk from Manors coaches was uncompromising, Manor had the upper hand in the scrums where they had taken a number of balls against the head, but in most other aspects of the game Manor were second best, they had to improve, there had been too many mistakes and their backline, who had been so devastating the previous week, were struggling to put together many phases of play.
Manor kicked off the second half and immediately upped their game, harrying the opposition, turning over the ball and driving deep into Brentwood’s 22 winning a kickable penalty. Manor turned down the 3 points and kicked to touch. Here O’Connor secured the ball allowing Manors pack to set up a driving maul which went over the line and when the bodies got off the ground James Osborn was last to get up with the ball in hand. Reece Reed added the extras and Manor had reduced the deficit to 7-17 after 4 minutes of the second half played.
Manor soon handed Brentwood an opportunity to increase their lead when they failed to clear the re-start properly, this allowed the visitors to build up the phases of attacking play, which eventually lead to anther score and with the conversion missed the score had moved on to 7- 22 after 8 minutes.
The game moved into a period of stalemate with neither side able to break through the others defence. From a scrum Reed set up Andrews Connors who broke through a number of tackles before setting the ball up close to Brentwood’s 22, but all the hard work was undone as the ball was moved along the line only for a simple knock on stopping Manors attack in its tracks. 25 minutes of the half had passed and neither side had been able to score again.
Brentwood eventually broke through Manors defence when from a scrum and a series of forward drives, Brentwood’s backline executed a well planned move in the centre creating a gap in Manors defence allowing Brentwood to score their fourth, bonus point try. With the conversion successful Brentwood now held a match winning 7-29 lead with 18 minutes of the match remaining.
Manor went on the attack with Jack Sullivan making his first appearance of the season after injury, making the hard yards and eventually winning a penalty which Horton kicked into Brentwood’s 22 for a lineout. The ball was won at the back of the line by Matt Oaks and Manor drove the ball forward until it was brought to ground 8 meters short of the line. John Robinson picked the ball up and spotted a gap through the middle of the ruck and drove forwards then sprinted for the line, crossing it with two defenders holding on to him. The try was given and Reed again kicked the points but with 10 minutes of the game remaining it looked like too little, too late for Manor at 14-29.
Manor continued to attack and created another scoring opportunity as Sheppard broke through the last line of defence with a clear run to the line, but the ref brought play back adjudging the last pass as forward. Brentwood cleared their lines and worked their way into Manors territory, here they won a penalty and put the result out of doubt with a successful shot at goal taking the final score to 14-32.
Brentwood were the deserved winners and are a side that has improved since the teams last meet, no longer do they just rely on a big pack to win them games, but they now possess a dangerous set of backs. Manor’s performance was not what was expected from them, the backline just did not function which was great disappointment after the previous weeks exploits. Manor will have to cut out the mistakes and the penalties which blighted their performance if they want to get back to winning ways next week when the visitors are Old Priorians.