Walden rule the Manor with 23-55 away win at Eton Manor
An eight try haul for Walden in a super game on the new 3G at Eton manor
Walden looked good in the warm up and were keen to make a strong start on the brand new 3G pitch at Eton Manor. Oh! that changed with the first minute as we gave away a silly penalty and Manor took advantage of the wind on their backs and slotted the kick to take a 3-0 lead! Back on with the game and the lads became organised and more disciplined to retain the ball. We moved upfield and scored through Fraser under the posts to take the lead. Manor were very quick to the breakdown and extremely competitive over the ball which threw the Walden players, we lost our precision and gave away too many penalties and turnovers which frustrated our attacking momentum. Manor scored after a series of good phases, but we responded very quickly in a similar way, Alex Benn
driving over in the corner for a first and well-earned try; where was Gaz with the camera when he was needed?? No conversion this time, straight into the wind from the touch-line, no chance! 12-3 with 10 to go until half time but Walden were still not on top of the breakdown, Manor took advantage and won another penalty within range to take a 13-12 lead at the break. We had a well needed talk on the basic changes the team needed to make to turn the game and take the wind advantage we would have in the next half, the good news was the players knew what was required.
Another strong start resulted in a second try for Fraser but Manor came back with their own to retake the lead 20-19, they were looking fit, strong and full of desire. Walden had the better lineout and were solid in the scrum so set piece ball seemed in our favour. This helped set up the next score for Walden, Fraser again, shortly followed by a cracker from Ryan. We leaked another penalty which was kicked but that was to be the last of Manor scoring. Despite Tom coming off injured and a few struggling but no replacement options we started to get the ball wide with the expected return. A penalty kick from Alex followed by tries from Ryan, Oisin and Josh on the stroke of full time gave Walden a well-deserved win 23-55. We need to use the width more often, when we do the return is obvious to see. What was pleasing was the response from the players to coaching input and the desire to run the ball, work some moves. We need to get the ball through the midfield more often and lower the risk at key times but overall a great performance against a streetwise team who excelled in the breakdown. Many thanks to Manor for being such great hosts, we look forward to playing them again soon.
Josh’s work-rate was off the scale. Alex B looked a more seasoned player and put in some excellent carries. We should make a special note that he played at prop to cover a shortage and did a fantastic job, many thanks to Alex for this, a well-deserved MotM award. Olly look strong in the back row, working well with Hugo who adapted to the centre in the second half with aplomb. John and Finn both covered 9 after Tom came off to get them more involved in the game, a sign that the ball was not getting wide enough, often enough!! Overall a very good performance, adapting well to the pitch, wind and lack of players. Great work lads, well done!