14 man Manor hold out for victory at Diss
Manor made the long journey this week to Diss hoping that the journey home would be all the more bearable with a victory, this is exactly what they achieved but no one expected a game where both sides attacked with purpose, but forgot how to defend properly.
Manor kicked off the game and harried their hosts who knocked the ball into touch. From the lineout Manor won a penalty which they kicked deep into Diss’s 22. With Harry Reid securing the throw in, Manor fed the ball along their backline where a miss move saw the ball in Nick Sheppard’s hands, he stepped inside his man but as he raced towards the line he was brought to ground but despite the attention of a couple of defenders managed to stretch forward and place the ball down just touching the line thus scoring Manors first points after three minutes. He was successful with the conversion giving Manor a 0 – 7 lead.
As was to be the pattern of the game Diss hit back almost immediately when their hard running No 8 brushed aside a number of attempted tackles before being finally brought to ground inside Manors 22 where the ball was set up for a couple of drives by their forwards before Diss’s impressive blindside flanker gathered the ball and went over the line for the home sides first score. With the conversion successful after 5 minutes the scores were level at 7 all.
It wasn’t long before Diss added to their tally when from a lineout 25 meters out they won their throw in and fed their No 8 who was standing in the scrum half position, he took the ball and powered his way through a couple of weak attempted tackles and went over the line for Diss’s second try and with the conversion again successful Diss had taken the lead 14 – 7 after only 10 minutes of play.
At the restart Diss again failed to deal with kick and the ball went into touch. From the lineout Diss cleared the ball but Manor set up a counter attack and after John Robinson and George Cosmo made good ground with ball in hand the ball was moved along Manors backline where Rhys Davis-Horne jinked inside his man then weaved his way cross field and towards the line, eventually being stopped 8 meters short. Here Manor picked and drove the ball on a couple of time before Nick Horton spotted Luigi Martelletti free on the wing and sent out a long miss pass for the flying Italian to collect and sprint over the line for Manors second try. Sheppard had his kicking boots on as he sent the touchline conversion through the posts to draw Manor level at 14 – 14 after 15 minutes.
Manor soon added to their total when after winning a couple of penalties, they won a lineout where Ollie Waugh broke away with ball in hand making 25 meters before being brought down metres from the try line, Manor were quickly in support and won another penalty for Diss coming in at the side of a ruck. Sheppard took a successful shot at goal putting Manor back in the lead 14 – 17 after 17 minutes.
The lead soon changed hands again when Diss attacked from the restart and with good ball retention drove through their forwards into Manors 22. Here they again drove at Manors defence, offloading well in the tackle until the ball found its way to their blindside flanker who evaded a couple of tackles to go over for their third try of the match and retake the lead 19 – 17, but the conversion was missed.
The game continued with neither side having the ascendency or creating scoring chances, but tempers were beginning to fray and when a Manor player was bundled into touch things boiled over with the end result that a Diss player was sent to the sin bin and Manors Frank Sullivan given a red card for striking an opponent, Manor would now have to play the remaining 50 minutes of the game with 14 players.
Despite being a man down Manor ended the half the stronger of the two sides. After good runs by Michael Eghan, Sheppard and Barney Newbury who was on as a substitute, the ball was set up just inside Diss’s 22, with the ball quickly recycled Robinson took the ball on before linking up with Newbury who drove through tackles to go over the line to score under the posts. Sheppard was again successful with the conversion and Manor had retaken the lead 19 – 24.
As the half was drawing to a close Diss again attacked Manor and created an opportunity for their winger to score in the corner and although the conversion was missed it looked like that half time would come with the sides even.
Manor though had other ideas as they competed and won the restart setting up a ruck, Horton darted down the blindside, fed the supporting Davis-Horne who after making some yardage fed Martelletti out on his wing. With 20 meters to go to the line he had it all to do, and he did, firstly he outpaced his opposite number then as the next tackler approached he skilfully sidestepped him then outpaced the covering defenders to score Manors fourth, bonus point try. After Sheppard again was successful with the conversion the ref brought a breathless half to a close with Manor taking a 24 – 31 lead into the break.
With Diss kicking off the second half it wasn’t long before they were restored to a full compliment of players meaning that Manor would play the rest of the game with a man short, even so Manor upped their game and took control winning a number of penalties, one which was close to the halfway line was taken as a shot at goal. Sheppard stepped up and with the distance no problem sent the ball sailing through the posts to increase Manors lead to 24 – 34 after 5 minutes.
Diss hit back at Manor making their numerical advantage count with a series of powerful drives that took play close to Manors line, here Manor defended well but gave away a number of penalties with the last one being deemed by the ref as stopping a certain try so he awarded Diss a penalty try and with it seven points to reduce the deficit to 31 – 34.
It was now Manors turn to hit straight back when they competed well at the re-start and forced Diss into giving away a penalty, yet again Sheppard was successful with the kick, this time from 28 meters out and the scoreboard ticked along to 31 – 37 after 10 minutes.
Manor were in the ascendency with Robinson gathering the restart he made a strong run into Diss’s half where the ball was set up then chipped into the hosts 22. Here they tried to run the ball out from deep but Martelletti intercepted a pass, set the ball up for Manor forwards to drive on before giving quick ball to Manors backline where Callum Mckie sent a long pass out to Eghan on the wing where he had the pace to run the ball in at the corner. Yet again Sheppard nailed a touchline conversion to increase Manors lead to 31 – 44.
From the restart Manor again took control of the game and after a series of drives where Matt Oaks, returning for his first game of the season for the 1st’s, combined well with Misiona Evagelia to take play deep into the oppositions territory. Ollie Phillips took on the attack before linking with Cosmo who drove the ball into Diss’s 22 winning yet another penalty in the process. Sheppard was successful with the kick at goal taking Manor to a match winning lead 31 – 47.
As the half worn on Manor created more scoring opportunities with Eghan unlucky not to gather a long kick from McKie which would have seen him score. But as Manor continued to pressurise Diss they thought that they had scored when Martelletti joined in another attack, outpaced the defence and drew the last defender before passing to Phillips on the wing, he beat the covering defenders to score in the corner only for the ref to bring play back deeming that the final pass had been forward.
As the game wore Manors intensity dropped as playing against the extra man began to tell, Diss spotted their opportunity and used a series of powerful drives to score two quick tries, with the second one being the last play of the match bringing the final score to 43 – 47.
Manor will be very pleased to come to a ground that it is always difficult to play at and come away with a 5 point victory, this with a man down for the whole of the second half, which despite this saw Manor dominate proceedings for the majority of the time. Diss were as expected a big hard running team but even so Manor will be disappointed with their defensive display and know that they need to return to their performances of the previous few weeks when second placed Brentwood visit the New Wilderness next week in what will be a difficult encounter.