Rugby: Thurrock 43 v 30 Eton Manor

Thurrock beat the weather to play this game and reaped the reward with a fine win over East End rivals Eton Manor. There was a bit of hesitancy before the game kicked off with the away team not 100% happy but once the referee agreed that the pitch was more than playable, the game was on.

The large crowd was the treated to a very entertaining game as the score suggests with both teams looking to attack with ball in hand at every opportunity.

Thurrock opened the scoring through Mark Brandon who converted a penalty and soon after No8 Bradleigh Rettigan hit the line at pace from a set move to score under the posts, Brandon adding the extras for a 10-0 lead. Eton Manor then had their best spell of the match with a drop goal and converted try to draw level, and then added a further unconverted try to take the lead, and increased it further with a penalty to now lead 18-10.

Thurrock bounced back and Brandon added a penalty before just on the stroke of half time second half Dritan Loka took a ball at pace five yards from the line and scored close to the posts, for Brandon to add the conversion with the last kick of the first half to lead 20-18 at the break.

Despite the bitterly cold, the international supporters left the warmth of clubhouse, buoyed by the Thurrock comeback to urge the home side on, Mark Brandon’s quick thinking opened the scoring in the second half has he landed a drop goal, before Sam Porter went over for an unconverted try before Eton Manor cancelled that out with one their own, before Brandon added his second drop goal.

This took the wind out of the visitor’s sails and Thurrock scored wide out through Ben Stanley and the Rettigan added his second under the posts for Brandon to convert for Thurrock to lead 43-23 having secured the extra bonus point when Stanley went over for the fourth Thurrock try. But credit to the visitors, with virtually the last play of the match scored under the posts and earned them a 4 try bonus point.

The game marked the last appearance for a while for hooker Dan Carey who leaves on his travels around the world, also a big thank you to the Thurrock branch of Travis Perkins who kindly sponsored the match in their quest to raise money for cancer charities, which also led to wearing pink to promote their commitment to the cause.

TEAM: Worster, Farrell (McDonald 62m), Stanley, Madden (Gorman 56m), Porter, Rudgely, Brandon, North, Carey, Woodward (Love 76m), Banks, Loka, Crowhurst, Timson, Rettigan

This week Thurrock travel to SIDCUP , kick off will be 2.00pm

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