By Adam Faherty
Report by Graham Pratt
Unlike three weeks ago at North Walsham this was not a game to remember as the team looked rusty after not playing since then.
The conditions were good, and Eton Manor’s artificial surface made for an expensive, fast match but Rochford’s timing and finishing was not up to par and points were left on the pitch at the end of this frustrating encounter.
The home outfit were a spirited and lively side and took their chances when they came but were outplayed for the most part in the set scrummage and creamed at the lineouts.
Where they were good at was a strong defence and counterattack which paid dividends in the latter part of the second half.
Rochford started well and their forward power built up territory and possession to allow full back Alfie Justice to run in for an early try. More forward pressure saw strong hooker adam ferrier force his way over the line for another try to take the score to 10 – 0 to the visitors. Unfortunately, an early leg muscle injury to prop Lewis Brunger did not help but replacement michael guess filled the gap more than adequately.
More points could have been added but some sloppy handling and wrong options kept the score line the same until Manor broke away to score a try of their own.
Late in the first half big second row Jodie Allen crashed over for Rochford’s third try and scrum half Steven Jay converted to take Rochford’s lead to 17 – 5 at the break.
More of the same in the second session with the Rochford pack dominating the scrummage and the likes of Harry Hudson and particularly Jamie Douglas winning plenty of good line out ball.
The visitors pushed hard to get their bonus point try and number eight Chris Shields, returning from injury, duly obliged by forcing his way over to score the fourth try.
Mistakes were creepy into the Essex Boys game and a number of errors frustrated Rochford’s efforts to gain more points. Thankfully James Kellard came to the rescue with a well taken try and with the score line at 27 – 5 it looked as if a bigger margin would now develop.
Unfortunately for Rochford this was not to be the case as Eton Manor soaked up the pressure and waited their chance to counter attack. Their first break came, and they took possession and ran in for a converted try to reduce the deficit to 27 – 12.
To add insult to injury late in the game Manor, once again, took their second chance and ran in for another converted try to finish off proceedings.
Rochford obtained their goal of a bonus point win but felt a little deflated and critical of themselves for not performing as they know they can.
It was not all doom and gloom as the team played some good rugby with forwards and backs combining well creating many chances to score more points.
Next week another away trip to Old Priorians over in West London when, all being well, they could be crowned champions but counting chickens come to mind and they know that they will need to step up a gear or so to ensure their goal.