Ill discipline cost Manor dear in defeat
Ist Team match report
Manor welcomed Colchester to the New Wilderness this week, keen to make up for a poor showing when the two sides met earlier in the season. Although Manor put in an improved performance basic errors and too many penalties meant that Colchester again come out winners.
Manor kicked off the game and competed well, turning the ball over allowing them to drive the ball on, but poor handling saw the ball knocked on and possession handed back to Colchester, a theme that would happen all too often during the game. From the scrum Colchester worked their way into Manors half and although the home side were defending well, they gave away a number of penalties, the last of which was converted by Colchester’s accurate goal kicker giving the visitors a 0 – 3 lead after 5 minutes.
The game settled into an even contest with both sides having difficulty in breaking down their oppositions defence, but Manor were giving away too many penalties which allowed Colchester to have a territorial advantage, this again resulted in another successful penalty attempt, this time from 35 meters out allowing the visitors to increase their advantage to 0 – 6 after 15 minutes of play.
The game continued with both sides guilty of basic handling errors stopping any promising passages of play. Manor gradually began to get the upper hand then after some good forward runs by Frank Sullivan and the returning Ollie Waugh the ball found its way to Michael Eghan who broke through a number of tackles before being brought down inside Colchester’s 22. Manor recycled the ball quickly moving along their backline where Elliot Brown had joined in from fullback, he was fed the ball 15 meters out and had the speed to out run the covering defenders and go over the line for Manors first try of the match. Although Jack Emerson was just wide with the conversion, after 30 minutes Manor were back in the game at 5 – 6.
Colchester’s reply was almost immediate, Manor secured the kick off but the clearance kick went directly into touch giving Colchester a lineout just outside Manors 22. With the throw in secured Colchester set about testing Manors defensive line and after some good offloading they broke through taking play deep into Manors 22 and after a couple of driving runs Colchester’s No 8 went over the line and under the posts for a 7 point score.
From the restart Manor went on the offensive when Brown put in a well directed kick in behind Colchester’s defensive line. Although he was beaten to the ball Brown had chased his kick well and under pressure the Colchester player knocked the ball on giving Manor a 5 meter scrum. With the ball won Manor attacked the line but Colchester defended well and managed to clear their lines.
The half came to a close with Manor again on the attack with Eghan proving hard to stop but he couldn’t get the final pass away and the ball was intercepted by Colchester and kicked to touch to bring the half to a close with Colchester leading 5 – 13.
Colchester kicked off the second half and started the stronger of the two sides and with Manor again falling foul of the refs whistle, Colchester found themselves with an attacking lineout inside Manors 22. Again their lineout worked smoothly and although Manor stopped the driving maul, Colchester retained possession well and after a number of powerful forward drives went over for their second try. With the extra points again added Colchester had increased their lead to 5 – 20 after 5 minutes of the second half.
Manor soon reduced the deficit when after both sides had given away penalties Manor found themselves with an attacking lineout 15 meters from Colchester’s line. On this occasion Manor failed to win clean ball, but as Colchester tried to set the ball up, Manor attacked the ruck and turned the ball over, scrumhalf Nick Horton grabbed possession, ran across field then sent a long pass out to Moe Alothman who beat the covering defenders to go over the try line. This time and from out wide Emerson was successful with the conversion and the scored moved on to 12 – 20 with 10 minutes gone.
From the restart Manor again didn’t help themselves as they gave away a number of penalties which lead to Colchester’s kicker added another three points to their total increasing their lead to 12 – 23.
The game continued with both sides having opportunities to add to their score with Manor having the better chance when Brown again made a break before linking up with his forwards who took play to the edge of Colchester’s 22, here Manor worked an overlap just to see the final pass going astray and a golden scoring opportunity went begging.
Colchester again came back at Manor and with the home side giving away more penalties it was only a matter of time before a player was sent to the sin bin, John Robinson was the recipient of the card leaving Manor a man down and giving Colchester an easy three points stretching their lead to 12 – 26 after 25 minutes.
Despite being a man down, Manor defended well then almost scored when Brown yet again made a break, this time from inside his own half and using his pace took play to within eight meters of the try line before being brought to ground, Manor couldn’t recycle the ball properly and possession was turned over.
Manor continued to press and it was Colchester’s time to give away a number of penalties, one which Manor kicked for a lineout 8 meters from Colchester’s line. The thrown in was secured by Harry Reid, then Manors forwards set up a driving maul and despite the efforts of the opposition, they slowly worked the ball over the line where Reid was credited with the score. Again from out wide Emerson was successful with the conversion and Manor had reduced the deficit to 19 – 26 with a couple of minutes left to play.
From the restart, despite now being at full strength, Manor were unable to secure possession and after a period of sustained pressure from Colchester Manor gave away yet another kickable penalty. The reliable Colchester kicker made no mistake taking away the possibility of a Manor comeback and as the score moved to 19 – 29 the kick denied Manor a losing bonus point. The ref then brought the game to an end.
This was a game where Manor had scored more tries than their opponents but their ill discipline had cost them dear. Both sides were evenly matched but on the day Colchester deserved their victory. Next week see’s Manor with the long journey to North Walsham, a ground that it is always difficult to win at. If they can reduce the high penalty count, they will have a good chance of winning the game and keeping them in contention for a top four finish in the league.