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Resilient Romford give leaders fright

13:15 17 March 2014

Romford & Gidea Park players crowd out an Eton Manor rival during their London One North clash (pic: Martin Pearl)

Romford & Gidea Park players crowd out an Eton Manor rival during their London One North clash (pic: Martin Pearl)

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London Div 1N: Eton Manor 24 Romford & GP 15

Romford’s young side travelled to Eton Manor and succeeded in giving the league leaders a scare, when they led for large parts of the game, only to fall by two late scores.

Although Manor had the better of the early exchanges, Romford demonstrated their total commitment in defence and were prepared to counter-attack at any opportunity.

After 15 minutes play, a blindside move allowed winger Reece Reed to cross in the corner for the home side but Romford responded by exerting pressure in the scrum, and when full-back Ross Inwood gathered a kick ahead, he was able to set up a counter-attack.

Romford’s forwards were making inroads into the Manor defence and flanker Charlie Wilkinson made good ground before feeding flying Lithuanian winger Vytaras Bloksys, whose try was converted by Inwood for a well-deserved lead.

With half-time approaching, Romford were reduced to 14 men after prop Tyler Lawrence received a yellow card for bringing down a maul illegally.

But their resilience shone through as they continued to deny the home side a score in this period of 10 minutes.

The second half saw Ian Semain taking over from Ricky Howard in the back row and Matthew Worrall-Clare resuming at his regular place in the front row.

Romford continued to pressure Manor into mistakes, enjoying spells of possession, and the teenage half-back partnership of Tom Cameron and Brad Norman gained in confidence as the game progressed.

However, the home side regained the initiative when, following turnover ball, good handling allowed winger Michael Eghan to touch down for a try, with the ensuing conversion giving them a 12-7 lead.

The score spurred Romford on, with centres Jake Jones and Dan Harnett tackling well, and after a series of plays, Cameron spotted a gap to dart over from 10 metres.

Romford were now in the ascendancy and Semain made a powerful break but was unlucky to have the ball dislodged from his grasp with the line at his mercy.

The position was set for Romford to earn a penalty for Inwood to convert giving the visitors a narrow three-point lead as they entered the final quarter.

With only ten minutes to play and Romford tiring, Stephen Ross was on hand to score and put Manor two points up, and with seconds remaining Eghan claimed his second try.

And the successful conversion cruelly denied Romford the losing bonus point from a game in which they felt they deserved at least a share of the spoils.

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