Manors woe's continue with loss to Ruislip.
Manor welcomed Ruislip to the New Wilderness this week looking to put last weeks disappointing performance behind them. Ruislip fielded a much changed side to the one that Manor had beaten quite comfortably earlier in the season and the fact that they had beaten Luton the previous week by 100-0 meant that they had improved considerably. Both sides respectfully observed a minutes silence to mark the sad passing of Manors long serving bar manageress Sue who was taken from us all far too soon. She will be missed by all those who had the privilege to have met her.
Manor kicked off the match and tested Ruislip’s defensive capabilities with a number of forward drives which culminated in Jack Emerson attempting a drop goal which went just wide. The early exchanges were fairly even and although Manor were winning the battle at the breakdown it was Ruislip who had the first scoring opportunity by way of a penalty 30 meters out. The Ruislip kicker sent the ball wide of the posts and from the 22 drop out Manor soon won back possession and took play into Ruislip’s half. Here from the first scrum of the day Manor won a penalty, Mitchell Din stepped up and from 35 meters out struck the ball between the posts to register Manors first points, 3 – 0 after 8 minutes.
From the restart Ruislip kept possession well and tested Manors defence using their big ball carriers to punch holes through Manors defensive line. Although Manor tackled well the pressure eventually told when Ruislip’s winger broke through a tackle before linking up with his centre, he made ground towards the line and although stopped, popped the ball back to his winger who went over for the first try of the game. The conversion was successful so Ruislip had taken the lead 3 – 7 with 15 minutes played.
Manor soon hit back when they won a lineout just inside Ruislip’s half. Rob Falls won the throw in before Garth Tucker and George Cosmo drove the ball on, with Manor retaining possession the ball was passed out to Emerson who put in a 30 meter cross field kick for Elliot Brown to chase, the winger set off at pace and didn’t have to break stride as the ball fell perfectly into his hands allowing him to race over the line and score Manors opening try. The difficult conversion was missed but after 30 minutes Manor had retaken the lead 8 – 7.
Manor were disrupting Ruislip’s lineout and when they stole the throw in from a lineout inside Ruislip’s 22 they looked to set up a sustained period of attack, but a knock on soon stopped a promising move and from the resulting scrum Ruislip cleared the ball into Manors half.
Manor now tried to run the ball out from deep, Din nipped though a gap then kicked ahead but appeared to have been taken out late, with the ref having none of it, Ruislip drove the ball back at Manor before their fullback managed to break a couple of tackles before going over under the posts. The easy conversion was successful giving the lead back to Ruislip 8 - 14 after 36 minutes.
With time in the first half running out Ruislip scored again, this time after they kicked the ball deep into Manors 22 where the defence knocked the ball on. From the set scrum Manor drove their opposition back but the ball still stayed on the Ruislip side, this allowed them to gather the ball and after a couple of forward drives go over the line for another try. With a successful conversion they stretched their lead to 8 – 21 with just enough time to restart the game.
With Emerson sending up a high hanging re-start Luigi Martelletti chased the ball and jumped the highest knocking the ball backwards where Freddie Heaton drive forward but was stopped by a high tackle, the subsequent penalty allowed Manor to kick deep into Ruislip’s 22. Here they won their line out allowing Falls and Billy Cosmo to make good powerful drives before releasing the ball along the backline where Rhys Davies-Horne sent out a long looping pass to Brown on the wing, he rounded him man and went in at the corner for his, and Manors second try. The touchline conversion was missed and with the ref blowing for half time Manor turned around 13 – 21 down.
With Manor kicking off the second half it was their opponents who began the half the better of the two sides and after a period of sustained pressure inside Manors 22 they won a couple of quick scrums and from the last one they drove towards the line using their big forwards to good effect until they broke through Manors defence to score another unconverted try. After 9 minutes of the second half Ruislip had extended their lead to 13 – 26.
The visitors were still having the better of things with some good kicking from hand keeping Manor pinned inside their 22. As the pressure mounted Manor continued to defend well and eventually Tucker won a turn over at the breakdown and then a penalty which gave Manor some breathing space.
Manor now had some possession in the right part of the pitch and won a couple of penalties which they kicked for attacking lineouts. On the second lineout the ball was won be Jack Sullivan who executed a pre-planned move to feed Freddie Heaton who crashed over the line to score another try for Manor. With the touchline conversion successful by Din with 17 played Manor had reduced the deficit to 20 – 26.
Manor were now having the better of things with some good runs by Brown and Martelletti and some good kicking from hand by Cameron Dutch keeping Ruislip on the back foot. With an attacking lineout 5 meters from Ruislip’s line Falls won the throw in then fed Tucker who drove powerfully to the line but the ball was knocked out of his grasp in the act of going over the line.
Manor still kept up the pressure on Ruislip and after a powerful run by Oscar Townend, Tucker took up the attack but as he tried to offload in the tackle the ball went forward. In the attack Townend pulled a muscle and had to be helped from the field with an injury that will keep him out for most of the rest of the season.
Despite all of their pressure Manor couldn’t break down Ruislip’s defence and eventually the visitors got their hands on the ball and worked their way up field where their forwards pounded the Manor line before feeding their fullback who took the ball at pace, crashed through a couple of tackles and went over the line for the match winning score, the conversion was missed but with little time left to play Ruislip had extended their lead 20 – 31.
Manor pressurised the re-start and soon turned over the ball then released Brown down his wing, with the covering defence closing him down Brown kicked the ball low towards a Ruislip player and the ball bounced off of him for a Manor line 8 meters from the try line. Manor won the throw in and set up a driving maul that was heading at pace towards the try line before it was cynically brought to ground by Ruislip. The ref showed a yellow card to the offender but somewhat surprisingly didn’t award a penalty try. Manor again kicked to touch and again set up an unstoppable driving maul this time going over the line for Falls to grab the final score of the match, with the conversion missed the score moved to 25 – 31.
There was still time to restart the match and although Manor secured the ball they couldn’t create a scoring opportunity before the ref blew for full time.
Manor had again lost a match that, if they had played to their potential they should have won. Credit must go to Ruislip who are fighting for their league survival and their will to win was greater than Manors. Manor now have a week off before a difficult trip to second placed Colchester but if their can produce a good performance it will go some way to restoring the confidence the team are currently lacking.