Manor end their losing run with victory at Thurrock
Manor travelled the short distance to Thurrock this week looking to end their losing run. With their opponents one place below them in the league, it wasn’t going to be an easy task. Manors team showed a number of changes due to various injuries and unavailability’s but this enable Manor to give a debut off the bench to Harry Reid.
With the weather perfect for ruby Manor kicked off the match and started the better of the two sides, putting pressure on Thurrock, they managed to secure the ball and send up a box kick to get out of their 22. Manor attacked with Barney Newbury and Matt Oaks both making ground before the ball was moved out to Max Murray on the wing, he cut back inside his man taking play to just outside the 22 where he stood strong in the tackle enabling him to offload the ball to the supporting Nick Sheppard. Sheppard then handed off the first attempted tackler and drove through the next two, this opened up a gap behind Thurrock’s defensive line and he sprinted over the try line for Manors first try of the game. He was then successful with the conversion and after 3 minutes Manor led 0 – 7.
Thurrock soon had points on the board after pressing Manor from the restart they won a lineout which they won and worked the ball into Manors 22 with a series of driving runs. Although Manor defended well, Thurrock didn’t panic and played their way through the phases, retaining possession and passing out of the tackle until their second row broke through Manors defence and although he was stopped a few meters short of the line he again passed out of the tackle allowing Thurrock’s supporting player to score close to the posts. The conversion attempt was missed but the home side had reduced the deficit to 5 – 7 after 10 minutes.
Thurrock continued to have the better of play and with Manor giving away a number of penalties, the visitors found themselves in the wrong half of the pitch. Again Thurrock played through the phases denying Manor any possession, but a big hit from Newbury turned the ball over allowing Manor to launch an attack that took play close to Thurrock’s 22 where they won a scrum from a defending knock on. Manor continued to press through their forwards with Oaks, Newbury and Jack Sullivan all making ground but they couldn’t break through Thurrock’s defence and gave away a penalty. The clearing kick didn’t find touch and Manor hit straight back through winger Corrado Martelletti, who skinned his opposite number then chipped ahead into Thurrock’s 22 where Manor won an attacking lineout.
Manor won the throw in and drove towards the line and as the drive lost momentum, first Sullivan then John Robinson drove towards the line but were met with solid defending then Manor fell foul of the refs whistle giving Thurrock a penalty and the opportunity to clear the danger.
After soaking up the pressure, Thurrock now the upper hand in attack and after a period of attacking play the same second row as before broke through Manors line and passed the ball out of the tackle for his scrumhalf to scamper over the line for the hosts second try. This time the conversion was good and after 27 minutes Thurrock had taken the lead 12 – 7.
From the restart Thurrock gained possession and kick the ball long to Manor’s fullback Elliott Brown, he launched a counter attack running the ball back to halfway before chipping the ball ahead, Thurrock didn’t deal with the bobbling ball and Ben Lockyer got his foot to the ball first kicking it into Thurrock’s 22. Murray gave chase and gathered the ball up and raced to the line for Manors second try. Sheppard again added the extra points and after 30 minutes Manor had retaken the lead 12 – 14. Unfortunately Murray injured himself scoring and was soon replaced by Reece Reed.
Manor were now the dominate team and as Thurrock tried to clear their lines a kick was sliced falling into the hands of Reed, he skipped past the first tackle then linked with Brown who again cause the defence problems and eventually won Manor a penalty. Sheppard stepped up and slotted the attempt and as half time approached Manor had increased their lead to 12 – 17.
From the restart Thurrock tried to run the ball at Manor but Reid showed his potential when he smashed the big ball carrier to the ground winning a scrum in the process. From here Manor were awarded a penalty which they kicked deep into Thurrock’s 22. Robinson won the throw in and in a planned move fed the rampaging Manor captain Tryson Goodchild and with the field opening up in front of him he was on his way to score when the ref brought play back deeming the throw in at the lineout was not straight.
The half came to a close with Thurrock in possession but not getting much change from Manors defence as they tried to break over the halfway line another knock on saw Manor go into the break leading by 5 points.
With Thurrock kicking off the second half they were soon on the attack, but they were penalised for running into their own man allowing Manor to kick for a lineout just inside Thurrock’s half. Here Tom O’Connor won the ball and Manor set up a driving maul that took play into Thurrock’s 22, here the maul was brought down with the ref awarding a defending side scrum. Thurrock cleared their lines but only as far as Brown who ran back at pace finally being taken out into touch inside Thurrock’s 22. With the hosts throwing in, O’Connor stole the ball allowing Manor to set up another driving maul which took play close to the try line where first Newbury then Goodchild tried to get over the line but good defence held the ball up for an attacking scrum. Manor continued to bombard the try line where again Goodchild, Newbury and Sullivan were all stopped just short, but on the fourth attempt Goodchild managed to drive low and hard and grounded the ball on the line for Manors third try. The conversion was just wide but after 12 minutes of the second half Manor now led 12 – 22.
Thurrock came back at Manor and had a period of pressure inside Manors half winning a couple of penalties which saw them take play to inside Manors 22 for an attacking lineout. It was now Thurrock’s turn to lay siege to Manors line, but the visitors defence held firm and eventually Manor won a penalty for Thurrock not releasing the ball, this allowed Manor to clear the danger and win a lineout just inside their half.
Sullivan secured the throw in and Manor drove 15 meters up field before the drive was halted, from the back of the maul Nick Horton spotted a gap on the blind side and made off up the pitch before feeding Reed on the wing, he continued the attack leaving his man for dead as he took play into Thurrock’s 22, with defenders closing in, Reed passed the ball back to the supporting Horton who raced over the line for Manors bonus point try and although the conversion was again missed Manor had opened up what was a match winning lead 12 – 27 with 20 minutes left to play.
If Manor thought Thurrock were dead and buried then they were mistaken as straight from the kick off Manor gave possession back to Thurrock and they launched a free flowing fast paced attack where again their second row was allowed to slice through Manors defence taking play to within a few meters of Manors line where he passed the ball out of the tackle to his support and they went over the line and behind the posts for a seven point score, with 23 minutes played the deficit had reduced to 19 – 27.
From the re-start it was Manors turn to pressurise the opposition and win a lineout. With quick ball off the top Martelletti came in off his wing beating a couple of defenders before feeding the supporting Brown who raced towards the line but was stopped a couple of meters short of the line.
Manor continued to keep Thurrock pinned in and around their 22 and looked the more likely team to score again, but Thurrock defended well making sure that Manor did not add to their tally. Eventually Thurrock weathered the storm and began to take the attack to Manor working their way up the pitch towards Manors 22, but Manors defensive line was now working well and they stifled Thurrock’s attempts to break through and eventually won a penalty when at a ruck George Cosma got his hands of the ball and Thurrock were penalised for not releasing.
With the game coming to an end Manor launched one last attack but this broke down with a knock on inside Thurrock’s 22. With a scrum to the hosts the ref called last play and Thurrock drove the ball towards the halfway line through a series of driving runs, but Manor were defending well and then for some reason Thurrock chose to kick ahead giving Manor the opportunity to kick the ball dead and win the game.
Manor had brought their losing run to an end with a good victory against as side that is always difficult to beat. This will give the team confidence for the remaining games of the season. With a spare weekend coming up the players will have a chance to recover from any knocks they may have picked up and the team will welcome a number of players back from injury and they will increase the competition for a starting place against Saffron Walden in two weeks time.