Mannion's return boosts Swindon
5:30am Wednesday 16th April 2014 in By Tom Bassam, Chief sports writer
SWINDON’S Connal Knott was grateful to the returning Tom Mannion for bailing the side out in their 30-27 win against Grove on Saturday.
Mannion returned from a seven-week absence and scored two tries as Swindon, as so often it seems recently, had to claw back a deficit to win.
The Greenbridge Road side had trailed for most of the game, conceding 12 points before Knott himself had managed to get Swindon on the board at 12-5. Another two converted Grove scores and a penalty put them in a commanding position early in the second half.
Mannion’s intervention pulled the hosts back into the game but it was Dave Badminton that scored the game-winning try.
With just five minutes left Badminton cut back on Grove’s centres and broke the opposition line to finish a move that started with a driving maul from a line-out.
Knott was pleased to get the win after a couple of disappointing results for Swindon in recent weeks.
“It was good to get a win under their belts, after that loss against Devizes last week the last thing we wanted to do was get beat again, it’s not enjoyable,” Knott told the Advertiser.
“We bounced back, Tom Mannion scored two tries to save us on Saturday, he’s such a good player. It was his first game for seven weeks and it was massive to have him back. He’s such a strong ball carrier and fast for a guy who’s about 17 stone.
“We were losing most of the game and scored a try in the last five minutes, it wasn’t the best but we ground out the win.”
Swindon’s win leaves them fourth, which in all likelihood is where they’ll finish if they can see off Witney this weekend.
It is the same position they finished last season and given the changes in playing personnel and coaching staff it is not a bad effort, something Knott agrees with.
“We lost six key members of the squad, you lose that bonding that you’ve had for the last four years. We’ve had a good season, we’re in fourth and we haven’t played great so that’s a positive for next season.”