Eton Manor closed the gap between themselves and Southend Saxons in the London 1 North table to just two points after a 41-17 win against Saxons away from home.

Elliott Brown’s brace was added to by Aaron Lowe, Jamie Millais, Nick Horton, Robb Falls and Cameron Dutch, with the latter also adding a couple of conversions to top up Manor’s total.

The visitors were able to select possibly their strongest squad of the season and it showed right from the off, despite the weather doing its best to make the pitch difficult to play on.

They were continuously testing Southend’s defence and they took an early lead when Horton moved the ball along to Lowe, and he cut back inside before using his strength to get over the line for the first try of the day, which was converted by Dutch.

Indiscipline from Manor almost cost them straight from the restart when they gave away a penalty, but Southend went for the ambitious option of a shot from goal which was off target, despite having the distance on it.

The hosts continued to probe following this close call and almost had a try when a kick went through Manor’s defence, but a fabulous recovery from Horton saw him gather the ball and clear the danger.

Defence soon turned into attack and Manor increased their advantage when Millais was fed the ball out on the wing and he darted forward on an excellent solo run before going under the post for a seven-point score.

Just like last time, Southend came storming back and this time they got the reward they sought when the referee played advantage after a high tackle and the prop drove over from five metres to halve the deficit.

Things got worse for Manor soon after as Southend came back to within two points with a second try after they capitalised on a slip from Dutch.

However, Manor were able to give themselves some breathing space at the half-time interval when Brown chased a kick and knock the ball into the dead ball area before diving on top. A difficult conversion was missed, but Manor led 19-12 at the break.

A quick start to the second period saw Southend come right back into it again as they caught Manor napping and went over for an unconverted try.

However, that was to be their last score of the game, and an excellent second-half display saw the visitors pull away.

Horton dived over the line to grab his side’s fourth try of the afternoon, increasing their lead to 24-19, and a further five points were then added by Falls when he went in low and hard after Southend had stopped numerous waves of attacks.

Having almost conceded their lead on two occasions, Manor will have been wary of another Southend fightback, but they decreased the likelihood of that late on when Horton moved the ball out to Dutch, who beat his man before diving in at the corner.

There was time for one more try just to make it safe. Brown reacted quickest to pick up a loose ball and used his pace to get away from the chasing defenders before crossing for the final try of the day.

The win leaves Manor sixth in the table, two points behind both Southend and Old Haberdashers. Next up for them is a return home to face Ruislip this Saturday.