Eton Manor 14 Brentwood 32 (London & South East Division: North 1) 1st October 2016
Solid performance by the whole team ....
On a sunny afternoon, Brentwood travelled to the new wilderness ground to play Eton Manor hoping to improve on their record of one win in five previous visits. Brentwood were on a good run of three consecutive wins whereas Manor were keen to follow up their thumping victory away at Fullerians last week.
Brentwood, sporting their new all black away kit, were pressed back from the kick off by a determined Manor start and had to defend hard from an attacking line out on their 20 meter line. Resolute tackling and some hard yards gained by the forwards, Brentwood’s young centre Josh Stannard picked up the ball and sprinted from the half way line to score the first try of the match after six minutes. Henry Bird’s conversion put Brentwood into a 0-7 lead.
The two packs continued to square up to each other with no quarter asked or given, with little opportunity for expansive play from either set of backs. That changed when a jinking run from Brentwood scrum half Harry Chambers disrupted Manor’s defence and some desperate defensive scrambling led to the award of a penalty which Henry Bird duly popped over to make the score 0-10 after 15 minutes.
Before the restart, Brentwood had to make a change when left winger Declan Gillett had to come off with a nasty looking knee injury and was replaced by Aaron Stannier. The match resumed with an even exchange of possession and territory by two determined teams and the fierce head to head competition between two strong packs kept the referee busy.
After 35 minutes, a forceful surge by Brentwood’s forwards saw the ball fed back to the fleet footed Josh Stannard who set off on another try making run, slicing through the Manor defence before slipping the ball to full back Tom Simpson who scored under the posts.Henry Bird’s conversion made the score 0-17 with five minutes to go to half time.
With plenty of heavy challenges but no further score before the break, Brentwood Director of Rugby Steve Killington took the chance to rotate his forward resources by bringing on Jack Wells and Terry Snooks and giving the hard working Lewis Pratley and Nick Binet a well earned rest.
Immediately after the kick off, a still determined Manor pressed Brentwood back into their defensive zone. A well executed line out and powerful rolling maul saw Manor touch down for their first score which was converted to close the gap to 7-17. Billy Aldous became Brentwood’s second injury victim and had to be replaced by the refreshed Nick Binet.
Brentwood were stung into action by this early second half repost and their best piece of passing play of the match so far saw the ball moved quickly from Tom King to Henry Bird and on to Aaron Stannier who ran in Brentwood’s third try with five second half minutes gone.
The score remained 7-22 for the next 15 minutes with both sides having their moments but both defences holding firm. Brentwood saved their best try of the match until half way through the second half when Aaron Stannier ran a great line before releasing Josh Stannard to score his second and Brentwood’s bonus point earning fourth try. Henry Bird’s conversion made it 7-29.
Manor’s second try after 28 minutes of play was like an action replay of their first. A line out 20 meters from Brentwood’s line was caught and recycled. The ensuing rolling maul saw Manor touch down. The conversion brought the score to 14-29.
A solid Brentwood performance was completed when a swash buckling last minute run by second row Rob Hobbs led to a penalty being awarded against a tiring Manor defence. Bird completed a respectable 12 point afternoon with the boot by kicking the penalty to bring the final score to 14-32.
Brentwood’s travelling supporters were delighted to have the chance to cheer a win away at Eton Manor after a match fiercely contested by two packs of forwards but won by Brentwood’s solid teamwork and superior back line play. This fourth win sees Brentwood consolidate their fourth place in London 1 North with 21 points from 5 matches, 2 points behind league leaders Tring.
The DAVLAV man of the match award was shared between number eight Tom King and centre Josh Stannard. Next week’s 1st XV match is against Letchworth at King Georges. Kick off is at 3.00pm.
Team: Brentwood Team: Skurr, Richards, Pratley, Woodcock (cap), Hobbs, Binet, Aldous, King, Chambers (H), Chambers (C), Greenfield, Stannard, Bird, Gillett, and Simpson. Subs: Snooks, Wells, and Stannier.