Poor Manor performance punished by North Walsham
Manor made the long trip to North Walsham off the back of losing their unbeaten record last week to Colchester. Despite it being a difficult ground to win at Manor were keen to get back to winning ways but they were unable to achieve their aim and somewhat disappointingly produced one of their worst games of rugby for some time.
In appalling conditions North Walsham kicked off the game and took control of the opening period of play, coping well with the conditions and forcing Manor into making basic errors. The hosts first try came in somewhat fortuitous circumstances when a high kick into Manors half was contested by both sides, Manor got to the ball first but knocked it on, straight into the hands of North Walsham’s fullback who raced in over the line unopposed from 20 meters out. The conversion was missed but the visitors found themselves 5 – 0 down after a few minutes of play.
Things soon got worse as North Walsham continued to control possession causing Manor to give away a succession of penalties with the last one being in in front of the posts which was duly slotted over the bar to increase the hosts lead to 8 – 0 after 5 minutes.
Although North Walsham continued to have the upper hand Manor did defend well and their only score of the game came from turnover ball just outside their 22, the ball was fed to Aaron Lowe who broke through a couple of tackles before taking play deep inside North Walsham’s half, here he drew the last defender before he fed the supporting Elliott Brown who outpaced the covering defence to go over for a try. With Jack Emerson adding the extra points Manor were now in the game at 8 – 7 after 10 minutes.
The game entered a period of stalemate with both sides using elements to good effect, kicking long and capitalising on the other side’s mistakes. Manor were now gaining the ascendency at the scrum, something that would increase as the game wore on.
With the half coming to a close it looked like Manor would go into halftime with a small deficit but with the advantage of the slope for the second half. But in the last 5 minutes of the half Manor conceded two tries. The first from driving play by North Walsham’s forwards and the second from a Manor error. A 22 dropout went straight into the hands of a North Walsham player, he put in a kick behind Manors defence where Manor were penalised for holding on. A quick tap saw the ball moved out wide and a score in at the corner. George Cosma was yellow carded and Manor now faced the start of the second half a man down and 22 – 7 behind on the scoreboard.
With the second half underway and no improvement in the weather, it was North Walsham who played the better rugby attacking inside Manors 22, and when the ball was moved along their backline, Rhys Davis-Horne stuck out a hand to try and intercept the pass but just succeeded in knocking the ball forward, the ref judged that it was a deliberate knock-on and reduced Manor to 13 players by sending the ex Walsham player to the sin bin.
Although Manor were two men down they did have a period of attacking play and after a good kick ahead by Emerson, Brown was unlucky not to be able to gather the ball cleanly with the line beckoning.
Both sides were having difficulty in the conditions but North Walsham retained possession better than Manor and gradually worked their way into Manors 22 before scoring an unconverted try in the corner, 27 – 7 after 25 minutes.
Manor were chasing the game and making uncharacteristic errors, dropping off tackles that they would normally make, this allowed North Walsham to score again when their inside centre took advantage of some indifferent tackling to go over for yet another try, 32 – 7.
From the restart Manor found themselves a man down again, this time substitute Billy Cosma chased the kick off and as he jumped for the ball, he lost his footing and crashed into a Walsham player. Although accidental the ref deemed it to be dangerous and sent Cosma to the sin bin.
As the game drew to a close, North Walsham again attacked inside Manors 22 and scored their final try on the stroke of fulltime. With the final score 37 – 7, the hosts had been worthy winners of the match.
Manors performance was not good enough, something that the players themselves acknowledged. With two home games coming up Manor have the chance to put things right by playing the sort of rugby that they are capable of and getting back to winning ways.