Manor fall short at North Walsham
Manor made the long journey to North Walsham knowing that they needed a victory if they had hopes of finishing the season in 4th place. It is never an easy place to get a victory at and this game was no different. In an even contest Manors recurring indiscipline problem reared its ugly head again allowing the host to win an exciting and well fought contest.
North Walsham began the better of the two sides keeping the game in and around Manors 22. When Manor were penalised for an early engagement at the games first scrum, North Walsham took a quick tap and after a number of drives towards Manors line where they eventually broke through Manors resistance crossing for their first try of the match. With the conversion successful the hosts had taken a 7 – 0 lead after 3 minutes.
From the restart Manor showed the attacking threat that they posed when the ball was kicked back to them with Ollie Phillips taken the ball deep inside his half. He passed the ball into the middle of the park where fullback Elliott Brown set off taking play into North Walsham’s half. After breaking through a number of tackles he used his pace to head towards the line but was eventually taken into touch 10 meters short of the line.
Manor continued to attack with ex-Walsham player Rhys Davis-Horne and Moe Alotham both making good ground through the centre channels, and when Brown kicked and chased the ball forward he put pressure on the North Walsham defender winning a scrum for a knock on. Manor won the scrum and continued the attack only for a knock on to bring a halt to Manors attacking phases.
North Walsham were having the better of things, capitalising on Manors errors and winning a number of penalties as they worked their way into Manors 22. Here from yet another penalty they took a shot at goal and after 14 minutes increased their lead to 10 – 0.
Manor now came back into the game and it was North Walsham’s turn to give away a number of penalties which Manor took advantage of taking play to 5 meters from the hosts try line, here yet another penalty resulted in a yellow card for one of North Walsham ‘s props. Despite their numerical advantage Manor didn’t take the scoring opportunities that they were creating and eventually after a period of good defence from the home side Manor gave away a penalty which allowed North Walsham to clear the danger.
Manor still continued to press and after a good break by Alotham who broke a number of tackles to take play into North Walsham ‘s half, Manor won a penalty which, from 35 meters out Jack Emerson struck between the posts to register the visitors first points of the game 10 – 3 with 35 minutes played.
There was still time for North Walsham to add to their tally when Manor gave away another penalty when Brown was harshly penalised for offside when the ref called out another player to stop, but penalised Brown instead. The North Walsham kicker accepted the points on offer and the half soon came to a close with the hosts leading 13 – 3.
The second half began with Manor in the ascendency and soon they worked the best move of the match when from the halfway line Manor forwards secured the ball which was fed to Emmerson who, with both centres running decoy lines, sent out a long miss pass to Davis-Horne who had moved to fullback. He took the ball at pace beating the first line of defence before passing out wide to Brown who was now playing on the wing. Here Brown broke through two attempted tackles before racing towards the line and despite two defenders trying to stop him he had the strength to get over the line and score. Although the conversion was just wide Manor had reduced the deficit to 13 – 8.
Manor soon took the lead when North Walsham had a period of attacking play which was repelled by Manor and as they looked to move the ball along the line, second half substitute Nick Sheppard anticipated a pass and gathered the ball just inside North Walsham’s half and won the long sprint to the line going over near to the posts for a seven point score giving Manor the lead 13 – 15 after 12 minutes of the second half.
North Walsham hit back at Manor and had a sustained period of attacking play, Manor again defended the wave of attacks, but the penalty count was mounting and soon the ref sent Edvardas Satinskis to the bin for repeated team offences. The resulting penalty hit the posts and bounced back into play, North Walsham reacted the quickest securing the ball and after a series of forward drives crossed the line out wide for a five point score and in the process re-took the lead 18 – 15.
Manor were soon down to 13 men when after winning a scrum inside their 22, Nick Horton sent up a high kick which Brown chased but the ref penalised him for being in front of the kicker and in frustration Brown kicked the ball away and was sent to the bin for 10 minutes.
North Walsham made the best of their numerical advantage, keeping possession well working their way towards the line, eventually going over from close range and with the conversion successful they opened up a 10 point gap taking the score to 25 – 15.
The game came to a conclusion with Manor on the attack and after a series of drives by Manors forwards, Ollie Waugh fed Alotham 15 meters out. He stepped inside his man then stepped the last defender to go over the line for the last try of the game. Emmerson was successful with the conversion taking the score to 25 – 22, but with time up the final whistle brought an entertaining game to an end.
In the end Manor made too many basic mistakes and gave away too many penalties to win the game. North Walsham took their chances well and on the day deserved their victory. Next week Manor play their final game of the season at home to already relegated Saffron Walden, if anyone thought the game would be a guaranteed win then they will have to think again after Saffron Walden sprung a surprise in beating mid-table Old Priorians this week, showing that they are determined to leave their mark before relegation.