Eton Manor 3 Brentwood 0 (London & South East Division: North 1) 9th November 2013
Not a game for the purist, it ended in a 3-0 victory for Eton Manor and one bonus point for Brentwood.....
Eton Manor 3 Brentwood 0 (London & South East Division: North 1)
9th November 2013
by David Anderson
For several years, Eton Manor have been one of the strongest teams in London 1 North. Last year they finished runners up and this year they are currently lying in second place after eight games with 29 points, compared with Brentwood in sixth place with 24 points.
There were four changes to the Brentwood team this week; Clinton Dorling at prop, Marc Chandler in the second row, Alex Dorling at scrum-half and Charlie Chambers at fly-half.
After the recent heavy rain, the pitch was a total quagmire, extremely muddy with surface water in many places. This was never going to be a pretty game of rugby.
Eton Manor kicked off and immediately put the visitors under extreme pressure, winning two easily kickable penalties in front of the posts for offside. The first kick went wide but the second was converted to give the home side an early 3-0 lead.
For the first ten minutes Eton Manor mounted continuous attacks within the Brentwood 22. However, the visitor’s defence was well organised to stop any further scoring. Brentwood, at the end of the first quarter, were gradually getting into the game. An injury to prop Clinton Dorling saw him being replaced by Joel Bevans-Royston.
The second quarter belonged to Brentwood. Aaron Stanier broke down the left wing only for the final pass to be dropped. For most of the remaining half, the visitors camped in Eton Manor’s 22 and won a spate of penalties. However, with the line-out missing Rob Hobbs this week, this aspect of Brentwood’s play was not at its usual high standard. Persisting with line-outs from penalties rather than taking scrums near the home side’s line, the visitors came up short tactically and failed to score during this period of superiority.
With the poor pitch, a greasy ball and often in heavy rain, the play became exceedingly scrappy. Eton Manor broke out of defence but again Brentwood prevented a score. Centre Adam Thomas was yellow-carded for an unnecessarily late tackle as the first half ended.
A half marginally won by the visitors, but again this week, missed opportunities when in the opponent’s 22 proved that Brentwood have to think more carefully about their tactics in that area of play.
Eton Manor started the second half strongly and again were ahead in the set pieces. Against a lighter pack, Brentwood were pushed around in the scrums and outjumped in the line-outs. Declan Gillet, at full-back, pulled off a try-saving tackle and had a fine match in the attrocious conditions.
The second half continued to be mainly bossed by Eton Manor who used kicking rather than running to make headway upfield. Two penalties for hands in the ruck set up more attacks but Brentwood’s dogged defence held out. The home side were often unable to pierce the gainline despite once being held up over the line.
As the second half came to an end, Eton Manor were camped in Brentwood’s 22, but their frustration and the visitor’s defence saw the game end in a mud bath.
Not a game for the purist, it ended in a 3-0 victory for Eton Manor and one bonus point for Brentwood. A fairer result would probably have been a draw but the visitors must reflect on their chances in the first half.
However, losing 3-0 away to a team that is second in the league could seem to be a satisfactory outcome. Brentwood are now eighth in the league with hopefully some easier fixtures to come.
Team: Northall, Snooks, Dorling (C), Woodcock (c), Chandler, Metcalfe, King, Sherwood, Dorling (L), Chambers, Poole, Thomas, Cowen, Stanier and Gillet.
There is no 1st XV game this coming weekend. The next match is on 23rd November when Brentwood play Old Haberdashers away, ko 2.30pm.