Eastmoor Dragons edged out despite a much improved display against Seaton Rangers

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Eastmoor Dragons went into their latest National Conference Division Three game knowing their performance had to show a significant improvement on their season opener away in Cumbria when they were defeated embarrassingly 42-0 by Seaton Rangers who had just joined the National Conference League.

Heavy defeats in their two previous outings was another reason why they had to up their game in this return fixture and they did just that only to fall just short of victory in a 22-16 loss.

Having said that the early signs looked ominous as the visitors took a six point lead on 11 minutes when Euan Nicholson crossed wide out with scrum-half Dom Smallwood tagging on the extras.

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It then remained even until the 35th minute when Seaton, using the same play, swept the ball wide out for Nicholson to dive over in the corner to score his second try. The conversion attempt failed, leading to a halftime score of 10-0 in favour of the visitors, not what Eastmoor wanted.

Eastmoor Dragons were much improved when they took on Seaton Rangers in the National Conference League.Eastmoor Dragons were much improved when they took on Seaton Rangers in the National Conference League.
Eastmoor Dragons were much improved when they took on Seaton Rangers in the National Conference League.

Following a frank discussion at half-time it appeared to be a different Dragons team on the field in the second period with prop Robert Hartley blasting over to score from close range two minutes into the half.

With a failed conversion it was 10-4 in Seaton’s favour. But Eastmoor were in the ascendancy and piling the pressure on. Eight minutes later stand-off Danny Johnson went on a 30-metre burst, weaving his way through a host of players to score. Jamie Deal tagged on the extras and the Dragons were all square at 10-10.

Continuing the pressure, it was all Eastmoor from the restart and this told as centre Tom Wrigglesworth went over to score wide out on 56 minutes.

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With the impressive Danny Johnson kicking a superb touchline conversion they now led 16-10 and looked on course for a morale-boosting win.

However, a lack of composure by the Moor saw Seaton livewire Dom Smallwood flat foot the defence to score near the posts then kick the conversion to make the game all square again.

Play was end to end with fortunes switching, but it was Rangers’ and NCL man of the match JJ Key who made the difference, leaving several Dragons defenders wrong-footed to score an excellent try.

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Dom Smallwood added the conversion five minutes from time to end the scoring in favour of the visitors.

A much-improved performance by the home team saw Tom Consterdine with a welcome return to playing receive Eastmoor Dragons’ player of the match). Jason Roberts stiffened the back division following his return from injury and the pack as a whole more than held their own against a side sitting fourth in the table.

The Dragons are not in league action this week with their next game at Shaw Cross Sharks on July 2.