Westcliff skipper Ian Dartnell: Eton Manor clash is our biggest game of the year and could define season

Echo: Rallying call – Westcliff skipper Ian Dartnell Rallying call – Westcliff skipper Ian Dartnell

WESTCLIFF Rugby Club skipper Ian Dartnell feels this weekend’s table-topping clash with Eton Manor could end up defining his side’s season.

London One North leaders Westcliff are currently three points clear of the Londoners with just six games to go.

And Dartnell feels victory this weekend will make give Westcliff a great chance of clinching the only automatic promotion place.

“It’s the biggest game of the season and it’s one that could really define our season too,” said the 24-year-old.

“It’s first against second at the top of the table so if we can go and win it then it really puts us in a great position, especially if we can then go and beat Luton as well.

“We’re not taking anything for granted and all the games we have left will be hard, but Saturday will be hugely important on deciding where we finish the season.”

Westcliff head in to the game in a confident frame of mind after winning seven matches in succession.

But back row Dartnell, who has been with the club since he was six, knows Eton Manor will also be fired up for the game and he is therefore expecting a far more difficult match.

“Eton Manor are a powerful side with good forwards and if we give them the slightest sniff of winning the game we know they will take it,” said Dartnell.

“I think at times this season we’ve maybe been guilty of being a bit complacent.

“And that is probably the case when we had a bit of a dip in the middle of our fixtures.

“After coming down from a league above and starting the season with seven or eight wins maybe we thought it was all going to be quite straight forward but that was never going to be the case.

“It’s a tough league but it’s massively important we win at the weekend to improve our chances of getting out of it again.”

Eton Manor have won their last four games and triumphed 11-8 at Westcliff earlier on in the campaign.

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